An Islam of Her Own: Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women's Islamic Movements

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NYU Press, Apr 11, 2011 - Social Science - 208 pages
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As the world grapples with issues of religious fanaticism, extremist politics, and rampant violence that seek justification in either OC religiousOCO or OC secularOCO discourses, women who claim Islam as a vehicle for individual and social change are often either regarded as pious subjects who subscribe to an ideology that denies them many modern freedoms, or as feminist subjects who seek empowerment only through rejecting religion and adopting secularist discourses. Such assumptions emerge from a common trend in the literature to categorize the OCysecularOCO and the OCyreligiousOCO as polarizing categories, which in turn mitigates the identities, experiences and actions of women in Islamic societies. Yet in actuality Muslim women whose activism is grounded in Islam draw equally on principles associated with secularism. In An Islam of Her Own, Sherine Hafez focuses on womenOCOs Islamic activism in Egypt to challenge these binary representations of religious versus secular subjectivities. Drawing on six non-consecutive years of ethnographic fieldwork within a women's Islamic movement in Cairo, Hafez analyzes the ways in which women who participate in Islamic activism narrate their selfhood, articulate their desires, and embody discourses in which the boundaries are blurred between the religious and the secular.
 

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Contents

1 Introducing Desiring Subjects
1
Islam and Subjectivity
27
3 Womens Islamic Movements in the Making
51
Narratives of Activism
77
5 Desires for Ideal Womanhood
101
Mehmeit
127
7 Reconsidering Womens Desires in Islamic Movements
151
Glossary
163
Notes
165
Bibliography
175
Index
183
About the Author
191
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About the author (2011)

Sherine Hafezis an assistant professor of women's studies at the University of California, Riverside, and the author ofThe Terms of Empowerment: Islamic Women's Activism in Cairo.

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