From Publishers Weekly
This academic investigation from professor and author Keddie (Modern Iran) proves wide-spanning Afghanistan, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain-but struggles for depth amid a shortage of primary source material: "too little research has been done to provide a true history of how women fared over time in the Middle East." That said, Keddie makes a dogged effort in Book One to detail the situation of women in "those classes that are well documented," including the distinct cultural and practical barriers among "Muslim and ethnic majorities," successfully crafting a "general analytic overview" that traces the seclusion of women through practices adopted by eighth century caliphs, the modernizing reforms of colonial rule and 20th century strides in the women's movement. Book Two concerns the research strategies utilized in her study, adding resonance to her observations and setting the stage for other scholars to take on this "huge topic." 24 b&w photos.
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"This remarkable book enriches the field of Middle Eastern studies. . . . To read these interviews from almost two decades ago is to be struck by how much the world and Middle Eastern studies have changed since. For the new prominence of scholarship about women, no little credit is due Nikki Keddie."--Haleh Esfandiari, Wilson Quarterly
"All readers will enjoy the superb photographs, most of which were taken by the author during the 1970s...Graduate students will benefit from reading Keddie's nuanced understanding of the field's development from her perspective in 1978 and nearly a quarter of a century later."--M.L. Russell, Choice
"This collection of papers is a useful reminder both of the evolving scholarship dealing with women in the Middle East, and of the significant contributions that Keddie has made to that scholarship. It is an important addition to the library of anyone interested in this subject."--John O. Voll, Journal of Social History