Borne out of over two decades of work, this important volume combines essays from a variety of sources, ranging from those which originated as conference papers to those published in the popular press. Also including original material written specifically for this book, Feminism and Islam provides a unique and wide-ranging contribution to the field of Islam and gender studies.
Humanities \ Religion
Badran, Margot. Feminism in Islam: secular and religious
convergences. Oneworld, 2009. 349p bibl index; ISBN 9781851685561
pbk, $29.95. Reviewed in 2010may CHOICE.
Written by Badran (Georgetown Univ.), this collection of essays based
on fieldwork, conference presentations, and literary historical
analysis ranks among the best works investigating feminism and Islam.
The first part is devoted to feminism in Egypt, and the second traces
the spread of feminism in the broader Muslim world. Badran carefully
balances attention to major thinkers and writers with her grasp of the
issues feminists faced and addressed, along with the opponents and
obstacles in their paths. She demonstrates points of divergence and
convergence in her historical portrayal of the rise and growth of
Islamic feminism with the two foundational methodologies of ijtihad
(independent reasoning into religious texts) and tafsir
(interpretation of the Qur'an). Running throughout her analysis are
many crucial issues: political Islam, nationalism, education, the
modernity and secularism introduced by the West, and an excellent
discussion of female genital mutilation. Her discussion of "gender
activism" and "Islamic feminism" (p. 219: " . . . a middle space . . .
between secular feminism and masculinist Islam") is particularly
helpful. The scope, clarity of argument, depth of analysis, and wealth
of new information make this a very useful work. Summing Up: Highly
recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above; general readers. --
L. J. Alderink, emeritus, Concordia College
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