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Frequent reports of honor killings, disfigurement, and sensational abuse have given rise to a consensus in the West, a message propagated by human rights groups and the media: Muslim women need to be rescued. Lila Abu-Lughod boldly challenges this conclusion. An anthropologist who has been writing about Arab women for thirty years, she delves into the predicaments of Muslim women today, questioning whether generalizations about Islamic culture can explain the hardships these women face and asking what motivates particular individuals and institutions to promote their rights. In recent years Abu-Lughod has struggled to reconcile the popular image of women victimized by Islam with the complex women she has known through her research in various communities in the Muslim world. Here, she renders that divide vivid by presenting detailed vignettes of the lives of ordinary Muslim women, and showing that the problem of gender inequality cannot be laid at the feet of religion alone. Poverty and authoritarianism--conditions not unique to the Islamic world, and produced out of global interconnections that implicate the West--are often more decisive. The standard Western vocabulary of oppression, choice, and freedom is too blunt to describe these womens lives. "Do Muslim Women Need Saving? "is an indictment of a mindset that has justified all manner of foreign interference, including military invasion, in the name of rescuing women from Islam--as well as a moving portrait of womens actual experiences, and of the contingencies with which they live.
This groundbreaking volume showcases the exciting work emerging from the ethnography of media, a burgeoning new area in anthropology that expands both social theory and ethnographic fieldwork to examine the way media--film, television, video--are used in societies around the globe, often in places that have been off the map of conventional media studies. The contributors, key figures in this new field, cover topics ranging from indigenous media projects around the world to the unexpected effects of state control of media to the local impact of film and television as they travel transnationally. Their essays, mostly new work produced for this volume, bring provocative new theoretical perspectives grounded in cross-cultural ethnographic realities to the study of media.
For outside observers, current events in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank are seldom related to the collective memory of ordinary Palestinians. But for Palestinians themselves, the iniquities of the present are experienced as a continuous replay of the injustice of the past. By focusing on memories of the Nakba or "catastrophe" of 1948, in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were dispossessed to create the state of Israel, the contributors to this volume illuminate the contemporary Palestinian experience and clarify the moral claims they make for justice and redress. The book's essays consider the ways in which Palestinians have remembered and organized themselves around the Nakba, a central trauma that continues to be refracted through Palestinian personal and collective memory. Analyzing oral histories and written narratives, poetry and cinema, personal testimony and courtroom evidence, the authors show how the continuing experience of violence, displacement, and occupation have transformed the pre-Nakba past and the land of Palestine into symbols of what has been and continues to be lost. Nakbabrings to light the different ways in which Palestinians experienced and retain in memory the events of 1948. It is the first book to examine in detail how memories of Palestine's cataclysmic past are shaped by differences of class, gender, generation, and geographical location. In exploring the power of the past, the authors show the urgency of the question of memory for understanding the contested history of the present.
Lila Abu-Lughod draws on anthropological and feminist insights to construct a critical ethnography of a small Awlad 'Ali Bedouin community in Egypt. She explores how the telling of stories of everyday life challenges the power of anthropological theory to render adequately the lives of others and the way feminist theory appropriates Third World women.
An ethnography of women living in a Bedouin community in Egypt.
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