Women in the Middle East : past and present /

Main Author: Keddie, Nikki R.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Princeton : Princeton University Press, c2007.
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Review by Choice Review

In this work of varying utility for different groups of readers, specialists and graduate students will find small holes and trivial errors in the historical narrative while undergraduates will benefit tremendously from the wealth of knowledge collected in one sourcebook. Even specialists will benefit from the narrative's coverage, which spans the period from the rise of Islam to the present day, and the region from Morocco to Central Asia. All readers will enjoy the superb photographs, most of which were taken by the author (history, UCLA) during the 1970s. Similarly, for graduate students and specialists, the historiographical section will contain omissions, but for newcomers it will open doors of opportunity. 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. Undergraduates will likely find the latter, as well as the autobiographical section, of little utility. Of most interest to specialists is Keddie's work co-authored with the late Parvin Paidar, and the poignant autobiographical section that serves as both a sign to women of how far they have come and a warning to activists of the price they pay for their opinions. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. M. L. Russell formerly, East Carolina University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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: "[t]oo 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. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.