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Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society, 2nd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Abu-Lughod is capable of insight I believe dozens of modern anthropologists and social scientists have yet to discover...and her direct look at the way that power is manifested through alternative forms and agendas is matchless. In particular, her dicussion of the way in which women's modes of power work outside of the more studied realms reveals that resistance has a history and discourse all its own.
This book is definitely an excellent answer to those who want to view Islamic women as voiceless. And though the author attempts to show aspects of silence and veiling as manifestations of cultural distinction and identity, she is also quick to note in later chapters that it is Western influences that manage to increasingly isolate the veiled woman and reduce her realm of influence.
Provacative and intense, Abu-Lughod also has a touch of the poet in her, and this book reads easily. She wraps each intellectual argument in a thick blanket of anecdote and conversation, helping the reader create his/her own conclusions.
Abu Lughod analysis of concepts such as "hishma" was truly incisive and shed a great deal of light on the nature of modesty between women and men and amongst men and women. The analysis seems to explain behaviors and norms witnessed elsewhere in Egypt and indeed other parts of the Middle East.
An important thesis of Abu Lughod is that the Awlad Ali people often communicated in very conservative and modest way directly through words; they only said what was proper and fitted the norms. Yet a second mode of communication far more true and expressive was found in their little songs or poems.
Abu Lughod discussed gender relation amongst Awlad Ali at length and the relationship between women and the families of their husbands and the society at large. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. For an excellent work on veiling and gender issues, I would recommend Leila Ahmed's Women & Gender in Islam.
Abu-Lughod spent nearly two years embedded in a Bedouin village in Egypt, studying poetry and the community of women that made up such a large part of the social structure of the village. Her observations about social customs and the traditions that underlie them is a marvelous read. She may not describe well the modern Bedouin woman as she has evolved over the past twenty-five years since publication of Veiled Sentiments, but her thinking is timeless and important.
Veiled Sentiments is an ethnography written by Lila Abu-Loghod. Lila is of an Arab descendant and went to study the “Awlad Ali” society from October 1978 through to May 1980. The Awlad ‘Ali are a Bedouin tribe who originated from Libya but later migrated to the western desert of Egypt. In the ethnography, Lila discusses the links and clashes between ideas of honor and poetry. I use the word “honor” lightly as there are many meanings in which it can be interpreted in this certain specific society. In the Awlad ‘Ali, their modesty code mainly consists of modesty, shame and independence. Displaying any signs of sentiments or feelings expresses lack of modesty therefore leading them to lose status. This is the reason why they express their sentiments through the poems, which are called “Ghinnawas”. Throughout the ethnography, Lila portrays the different ways in which they express their sentiments and how it varies from their everyday language as opposed to the use of “Ghinnawas".
I would highly recommend this ethnography to people who are interested in the Arab culture as well as the way they live.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great read allowing much insight into the customs of a foreign culture.Published 16 months ago by Thomas D.
Needed it for class. Don't regret having to read it for class. Taught me a lot about the Bedouin culture. I love that they tell stories through poetry. Read morePublished on May 18, 2014 by Ricardo Francis
So much food for thought. Lila Au Lughood is so good at just presenting what happens or her observations. Fascinating topic and lovely writing style. Highly recommend.Published on May 2, 2014 by shd7s
Lila Abu-Lughod is an Egyptian woman who lived and studied in the United States. She had no ties with her Egyptian side. Read morePublished on February 27, 2014 by F-f-frozen Never Land / Little Stinkers
Veiled Sentiments is a very interesting ethnography that has a deep understanding and a massive insight towards the culture of the Bedouins in the Western-Desert who call... Read morePublished on February 26, 2014 by Ahmed Ali
In Lila Abu-Lughod's ethnography, Veiled Sentiments, she analyzes the traditions and values of the Awlad `Ali tribes, which are... Read more
Lila Abu-Lughod's Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society examines the identity of the Bedouin tribes, known as Awlad `Ali, living in the Western Desert of... Read morePublished on October 28, 2011 by Amit Gangrade