Joly & Wadia, “Muslim Women and Power”

In March, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Muslim Women and Power: Political and Civic Engagement in West European Societies,” by Danièle Joly (University of Warwick) and Khursheed Wadia (University of Warwick).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book provides an account of Muslim women’s political and civic engagement in Britain and France. It examines their interaction with civil society and state 9781137480613institutions to provide an understanding of their development as political actors. The authors argue that Muslim women’s participation is expressed at the intersections of the groups and society to which they belong. In Britain and France, their political attitudes and behaviour are influenced by their national/ethnic origins, religion and specific features of British and French societies. Thus three main spheres of action are identified: the ethnic group, religious group and majority society. Unequal, gendered power relations characterise the interconnection(s) between these spheres of action. Muslim women are positioned within these complex relations and find obstacles and/or facilitators governing their capacity to act politically. The authors suggest that Muslim women’s interest in politics, knowledge of it and participation in both institutional and informal politics is higher than expected. This book will appeal to students and scholars of politics, sociology, gender studies and social anthropology, and will also be of use to policy makers and practitioners in the field of gender and ethno-religious/ethno-cultural policy.

“Melania” (Chin and Schroeder, eds.)

In October, the University of California Press will release Melania: Early Christianity through the Life of One Family edited by Catherine M. Chin (University of California, Davis) and Caroline T. Schroeder (University of the Pacific). The publisher’s description follows:

melaniaMelania the Elder and her granddaughter Melania the Younger were major figures in early Christian history, using their wealth, status, and forceful personalities to shape the development of nearly every aspect of the religion we now know as Christianity. This volume examines their influence on late antique  Christianity and provides an insightful portrait of their legacies in the modern world. Departing from the traditionally patriarchal view, Melania gives a poignant and sometimes surprising account of how the rise of Christian institutions in the Roman Empire shaped our understanding of women’s roles in the larger world.

Arjmand, “Public Urban Space, Gender and Segregation”

In September, Routledge will release “Public Urban Space, Gender and Segregation: Women-only Urban Parks in Iran,” by Reza Arjmand (Lund University). The publisher’s description follows:

Public spaces are the renditions of the power symmetry within the social setting it resides in, and is both controlling and confining of power. In an ideologically-laden 9781472473370context, urban design encompasses values and meanings and is utilized as a means to construct the identity and perpetuate visible and invisible boundaries. Hence, gendered spatial dichotomy based on a biological division of sexes is often employed systematically to evade the transgression of women into the public spaces.

The production of modern urban space in the Middle East is formed in the interplay between modernity, tradition and religion. Examining women in public spaces and patterns of interaction with gender -segregated and -mixed space, this book argues that gendered spaces are far from a static physical spatial division and produce a complex and dynamic dichotomy of men/public and women/private. Taking the example of Iran, normative and ideologically-laden gender segregated public spaces have been used as a tool for the Islamization of everyday life. The most recent government effort includes women-only parks, purportedly designed and administered through women’s contributions, as well as to accommodate their needs and provide space for social interaction and activities. Combining research approaches from urban planning and social sciences, this book analyses both technical and social aspects of women-only parks. Addressing the relationships between ideology, urban planning and gender, the book interprets power relations and how they are used to define and plan public and semi-public urban spaces.

Lack of communication across disciplinary boundaries as result of complexities of urban life has been one of the major hindrances in studying urban spaces in the Middle East. Addressing the concern, the cross-disciplinary approach employed in this volume is an amalgamation of methods informed by urban planning and social sciences, which includes an in-depth analysis of the morphological, perceptual, social, visual, functional, and temporal dimensions of the public space, the women-only parks in Iran. Based on critical ethnography, this volume uses a phenomenological approach to understating women in gendered spaces. Interaction of women in women-only parks in Iran, a gendered space which is growing in popularity across the Muslim world is discussed thoroughly and compared vis-à-vis gender-neutral public spaces. The book targets scholars and students within a wide range of academic disciplines including urban studies, urban planning, gender studies, political science, Middle Eastern studies, cultural studies, urban anthropology, urban sociology, Iranian studies and Islamic studies.

Afaf, “Gendered Politics and Law in Jordan”

In August, Springer will release “Gendered Politics and Law in Jordan: Guardianship over Women,” by Afaf Jabiri (University of London).  The publisher’s description follows:

This book analyzes how the state constructs and reproduces gender identities in the context and geopolitics of Jordan. Guardianship over women is examined as not only 9783319326429the basis of women’s legal and social subordination, but also a key factor in the construction and reproduction of a gender hierarchy system. Afaf Jabiri probes how a masculine state gives power and legitimacy through guardianship to institutions—including family, religion, and tribe—in managing, producing, and constructing gender identity. Does the masculine institution succeed in imposing a dominant form of femininity? Or are there ways by which women escape and resist the social and legal construction of femininity? Based on over 60 case studies of contemporary women in Jordan, the book additionally examines how the resultant strategies and tactics developed by women in Jordan are influenced by and affect their status within the guardianship system.

Massoumi, “Muslim Women, Social Movements and the ‘War on Terror'”

In November, Palgrave Macmillan will release “Muslim Women, Social Movements and the ‘War on Terror’” by Narzanin Massoumi (University of Bath, UK). The publisher’s description follows:

On 15th February 2003, two million people marched in the streets of 9781137355645London to call on the British government not to go to war with Iraq. Though Britain did enter war, the movement did not rest in defeat. This book tells the story of what happened behind the scenes of this extraordinary mass movement, looking specifically at the political relationship between Muslim and leftist activists.

Crisis narratives about Muslims assume that they are only engaged with sectarian communalist forms of identity politics or that their supposed religious and social conservatism is incompatible with progressive values. Through telling this story, Massoumi looks closely at the role of identity politics within social movements, considering what this means in practice and whether we can meaningfully speak of identity politics. Arguing that identity politics can only be understood within the context of a wider social and political structure, this book analyses the conditions through which Muslim and leftist engagement emerges within this movement, and highlights the decisive leadership of Muslim women.

Herringer, “Victorians and the Virgin Mary: Religion and Gender in England 1830-85”

Next month, Manchester University Press will publish Victorians and the Virgin Mary: Religion and Gender in England 1830-85 by Carol Engelhardt Herringer (Wright State University). The publisher’s description follows.

This interdisciplinary study of competing representations of the Virgin Mary examines how anxieties about religious and gender identities intersected to create public controversies that, whilst ostensibly about theology and liturgy, were also attempts to define the role and nature of women. Drawing on a variety of sources, this book seeks to revise our understanding of the Victorian religious landscape, both retrieving Catholics from the cultural margins to which they are usually relegated, and calling for a reassessment of the Protestant attitude to the feminine ideal. This book will be useful to advanced students and scholars in a variety of disciplines including history, religious studies, Victorian studies, women’s history and gender studies.

Mangion, “Contested Identities”

Next month, Manchester University Press will publish Contested Identities by Carmen Mangion (Birkbeck College, University of London). The publisher’s description follows.

English Roman Catholic women’s congregations are an enigma of nineteenth-century social history. Over ten thousand nuns and sisters, establishing and managing significant Catholic educational, health care and social welfare institutions in England and Wales, have virtually disappeared from history. Despite their exclusion from historical texts, these women featured prominently in the public and private sphere. Intertwining the complexities of class with the notion of ethnicity, Contested identities examines the relationship between English and Irish-born sisters. This study is relevant not only to understanding women religious and Catholicism in nineteenth-century England and Wales, but also to our understanding of the role of women in the public and private sphere, dealing with issues still resonant today. Contributing to the larger story of the agency of nineteenth-century women and the broader transformation of English society, this book will appeal to scholars and students of social, cultural, gender and religious history.

Korteweg & Yurdakul, “The Headscarf Debates”

Next month, Stanford University Press will publish The Headscarf Debates by Anna C. Korteweg (University of Toronto) and Gökçe Yurdakul (Humboldt University of Berlin).  The publisher’s description The Headscarf Debatesfollows.

The headscarf is an increasingly contentious symbol in countries across the world. Those who don the headscarf in Germany are referred to as “integration-refusers.” In Turkey, support by and for headscarf-wearing women allowed a religious party to gain political power in a strictly secular state. A niqab-wearing Muslim woman was denied French citizenship for not conforming to national values. And in the Netherlands, Muslim women responded to the hatred of popular ultra-right politicians with public appeals that mixed headscarves with in-your-face humor. In a surprising way, the headscarf—a garment that conceals—has also come to reveal the changing nature of what it means to belong to a particular nation.

All countries promote national narratives that turn historical diversities into imagined commonalities, appealing to shared language, religion, history, or political practice. The Headscarf Debates explores how the headscarf has become a symbol used to reaffirm or transform these stories of belonging. Anna Korteweg and Gökçe Yurdakul focus on France, Germany, and the Netherlands—countries with significant Muslim-immigrant populations—and Turkey, a secular Muslim state with a persistent legacy of cultural ambivilance. The authors discuss recent cultural and political events and the debates they engender, enlivening the issues with interviews with social activists, and recreating the fervor which erupts near the core of each national identity when threats are perceived and changes are proposed.

The Headscarf Debates pays unique attention to how Muslim women speak for themselves, how their actions and statements reverberate throughout national debates. Ultimately, The Headscarf Debatesbrilliantly illuminates how belonging and nationhood is imagined and reimagined in an increasingly global world.

Iqtidar, “Secularizing Islamists?: Jama’at-e-Islami and Jama’at-ud-Da’wa in Urban Pakistan”

Next month, the University of Chicago Press will publish Secularizing Islamists?: Jama’at-e-Islami and Jama’at-ud-Da’wa in Urban Pakistan by Humeira Iqtidar (Kings College London). The publisher’s description follows.Secularizing Islamists?

Secularizing Islamists? provides an in-depth analysis of two Islamist parties in Pakistan, the highly influential Jama‘at-e-Islami and the more militant Jama‘at-ud-Da‘wa, widely blamed for the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India. Basing her findings on thirteen months of ethnographic work with the two parties in Lahore, Humeira Iqtidar proposes that these Islamists are involuntarily facilitating secularization within Muslim societies, even as they vehemently oppose secularism.

 This book offers a fine-grained account of the workings of both parties that challenges received ideas about the relationship between the ideology of secularism and the processes of secularization. Iqtidar particularly illuminates the impact of women on Pakistani Islamism, while arguing that these Islamist groups are inadvertently supporting secularization by forcing a critical engagement with the place of religion in public and private life. She highlights the role that competition among Islamists and the focus on the state as the center of their activity plays in assisting secularization. The result is a significant contribution to our understanding of emerging trends in Muslim politics.

Vakulenko, “Islamic Veiling in Legal Discourse”

9780415565509This December, Routledge will publish Islamic Veiling in Legal Discourse by Anastasia Vakulenko (Birmingham Law School). The publisher’s description follows.

Islamic Veiling in Legal Discourse looks at relevant law and surrounding discourses in order to examine the assumptions and limits of the debates around the issue of Islamic veiling that has become so topical in recent years. For some, Islamic veiling indicates a lack of autonomy, the oppression of women and the threat of Islamic radicalism to western secular values. For others, it suggests a positive autonomous choice, a new kind of gender equality and a legitimate exercise of one’s freedom of religion – a treasured right in democratic societies. This book finds that, across seemingly diverse legal and political traditions, a set of discursive frameworks – the preoccupation with autonomy and choice; the imperative of gender equality; and a particular western understanding of religion and religious subjectivity – shape the positions of both proponents and opponents of various restrictions on Islamic veiling. Rather than take a position on one or the other side of the debate, the book focuses on the frameworks themselves, highlighting their limitations.

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