The overriding theme of this work is that women’s struggles, human rights, myths, and literary expression are indispensable to an understanding of the modern culture and socio-political development of the Middle East region. The work demonstrates that no aspect of Middle Eastern history and modern evolution was shaped in isolation of women’s lives and contributions to society. The dictionary covers the biographies and written work of prominent historical female figures in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as 20th-century feminists, both male and female, who advanced women’s rights over many years.
The Historical Dictionary of Women in the Middle East and North Africa includes a chronology, an introductory essay, an extensive bibliography, and a dictionary section that has over 400 cross-referenced entries on various aspects of Middle Eastern feminism and culture, touching upon religious themes such as Sharia laws, Islamic marriage, divorce, and inheritance practices. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about the culture and history of women in the Middle East and North Africa.
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Ghada Talhami is D. K. Pearsons Professor of Politics, emerita, at Lake Forest College. She is the past editor of Arab Studies Quarterly and currently serves on the board of editors of the same journal as well as Muslim World. She is the author of several books, including The Mobilization of Muslim Women in Egypt (1996) and Palestine in the Egyptian Press (2007).Review:
Talhami’s (politics, emerita, Lake Forest College, IL; The Mobilization of Muslim Women in Egypt) concise book begins with an excellent chronology of the significant political, social, and cultural events that have affected the lives of women in the region, and follows with an introduction that provides a brief but rich history of the contributions of women in the Middle East and North Africa, again from political, social, and cultural viewpoints. Researchers will find entries about women and men who were or are activists, journalists, poets, novelists, and political leaders whose work helped improve the status of area women. In addition to the entries about individuals, numerous entries cover nongovernmental organizations, marriage, education, feminist organizations, movements, and religious laws. The extensive bibliography, arranged by topic, includes films and works in Arabic. VERDICT Students and researchers can use this dictionary as a starting point for their research, making it a solid addition to academic reference collections. (Library Journal)
This concise and accessible work is quite timely—interest in Middle Eastern and Islamic history and politics has never been stronger, and this book meets the information needs of students and faculty working in these areas but also the information needs of those interested in the social, political, economic, and ideological roles of women in these societies. Both students and the general reader will find this an accessible and timeless dictionary. Recommended for academic and public libraries. (Booklist)
Focusing on women in North Africa and the Middle East, this dictionary provides an excellent introduction to events, issues, organizations, concepts, and people, from ancient times to the present day. Talhami (emer., Lake Forest College) knows her topic, and her well-written entries provide a gateway to understanding complex issues, especially for students new to the field. For example, her entry on "Urf Marriage" explains not only this controversial institution itself but also its historical origins and contemporary contexts. Entries are noteworthy for their country-specific perspective, which provides an alternative to the monolithic perspective often presented on women in the Middle East. The dictionary features over 400 alphabetically organized entries with useful cross-references.. Talhami also includes a chronology and an excellent bibliography with a useful introductory essay. Organized by time period and by resource type, this bibliography is a great starting point for anyone looking for classic texts on issues related to women and the Middle East and North Africa. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students; general readers (CHOICE)
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