In this book, Shoshan asserts that in contemporary Middle Eastern countries the field of struggle that cultures constitute provides the ground for contesting and transforming the hegemonic patriarchal discourse and recently began to give voice, especially in women's literature, to feminist critique. Examining the gender issue as reflected in a variety of discourses that take place in contemporary Middle Eastern cultures, the contributors explore how feminine images are constructed in tradition-bound societies and in the context of nationalist projects. Both Islamic societies in Middle Eastern countries and the Jewish society in Israel are addressed in the discussion of the role of women's writing and other means of expression in challenging traditional-patriarchal concepts, including nationalism. While the conclusion about the manipulation that patriarchal discourse performs on women's images supports the available scholarship, the emphasis in this volume on the specific expressions of feminine discourse will be a welcome addition to the existing literature.
The essays in volume range from a discussion of the poetic strategies used to reconcile the roles of women to the shifts in the image of the Turkish woman as expressed in popular historical writing. Some of the essays examine the rituals that gather women together as well as the maternal role women play in the national-religious community. Combining the two, usually separately discussed, cultural notions of discourse and gender, this unique collection of articles addresses them in their various forms in both Islamic societies and the State of Israel.
About the Author:
BOAZ SHOSHAN has taught at Ben-Gurion University in Israel since 1978 and, in addition to his book Popular Culture in Medieval Cairo, he has published numerous articles in leading journals on the history of medieval Egypt.