Rituals of Memory: In Contemporary Arab Women's Writing

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Syracuse University Press, 2007 - Literary Collections - 303 pages

This volume carefully assesses fixed notions of Arab womanhood by exploring the complexities of Arab women's lives as portrayed in literature. Encompassing women writers and critics from Arab, French, and English traditions, it forges a transnational Arab feminist consciousness.

Brinda Mehta examines the significance of memory rituals in women's writings, such as the importance of water and purification rites in Islam and how these play out in the women's space of the hammam (Turkish bath). Mehta shows how sensory experiences connect Arab women to their past. Specific chapters raise awareness of the experiences of Palestinian women in exile and under occupation, Bedouin and desert rituals, and women's views on conflict in Iraq and Lebanon, and the compatibility between Islam and feminism. At once provocative and enlightening, this work is a groundbreaking addition to the timely field of modern Arab women's writing and criticism and Arab literary studies.

 

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Contents

Palestinian Women and the Problematics of Survival
28
Spatial Impositions Circularity and Memory
76
J The Politics of the Female Body
121
Creative Dissidence and Religious Contentions
152
Cities under Siege and the Language of Survival
188
The Semiology of Food
228
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About the author (2007)

Brinda Mehta is professor of French and Francophone studies at Mills College, Oakland, California.

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