Review by Choice Review
Abu-Lughod's latest offering is an edited collection of literary criticism and historical analysis that assesses the status of theorizing about "woman's emancipation" in the Middle East. Focusing on the three areas representative of the region (Turkey, Iran, and Egypt) for which, Abu-Lughod argues, a "critical mass" of previous research and theorizing exists, contributors to this volume revisit 19th-century feminist beginnings and early-20th-century links between motherhood and citizenship, as well as current debates surrounding the implications of Western "modernity" for women. The collection as a whole speaks nicely to larger, ongoing feminist critiques of programs of "development" or "modernization," which have often equated the women with oppressed domesticity. In doing so, the essays emphasize the interplay of local and Western postcolonial feminisms in theory and practice, beginning with (yet again) Foucault's theorizing on power and modernity. Largely historical, the collection serves as a wonderful introduction to the field for those unfamiliar with these debates, as well as a complement to other texts that focus on the dynamics of women's contemporary social, political, and economic experiences within the region. Upper-division undergraduates and above. S. K. Gallagher; Oregon State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.