Written by a pioneer in the field of Middle Eastern women's history, Women in the Middle East is a concise, comprehensive, and authoritative history of the lives of the region's women since the rise of Islam. Nikki Keddie shows why hostile or apologetic responses are completely inadequate to the diversity and richness of the lives of Middle Eastern women, and she provides a unique overview of their past and rapidly changing present. The book also includes a brief autobiography that recounts Keddie's political activism as one of the first women in Middle East Studies. Positioning women within their individual economic situations, identities, families, and geographies, Women in the Middle East examines the experiences of women in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, in Iran, and in all the Arab countries. Keddie discusses the interaction of a changing Islam with political, cultural, and socioeconomic developments. In doing so, she shows that, like other major religions, Islam incorporated ideas and practices of male superiority but also provoked challenges to them.
Keddie breaks with notions of Middle Eastern women as faceless victims, and assesses their involvement in the rise of modern nationalist, socialist, and Islamist movements. While acknowledging that conservative trends are strong, she notes that there have been significant improvements in Middle Eastern women's suffrage, education, marital choice, and health.
Nikki R. Keddie is Professor Emerita of Middle Eastern and Iranian History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of numerous books, including "Modern Iran" and "An Islamic Response to Imperialism".
List of Illustrations xi Preface xiii Introduction 1 BOOK ONE: Women in the Middle East: A History 7 Introduction: Issues in Studying Middle Eastern Women's History 9 I. Regional Background and the Beginnings of Islam 13 II. From the Pious Caliphs through the Dynastic Caliphates 26 III. From the Turkish and Mongol Invasions to 1798 48 IV. Change in the Long Nineteenth Century 1798-1914 60 V. 1914-45: Nationalism and Women's Movements 75 VI. 1945-Today: New States and Trends, Women's Activism, and the Rise of Islamism 102 Conclusion 166 Notes to Book One 171 Bibliography of Books 193 BOOK TWO: Approaches to the Study of Middle Eastern Women 201 Part 1. Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender 203 Part 2. Scholarship, Relativism, and Universalism 225 Part 3. Women in the Limelight: Recent Books on Middle Eastern Women's History since 1800 251 Part 4. Problems in the Study of Middle Eastern Women 279 Part 5. Sexuality and Shi?i Social Protest in Iran (coauthored with Parvin Paidar [Nahid Yeganeh]) 297 BOOK THREE: Autobiographical Recollections 325 Part 1. Autobiographical Interview 327 Part 2. Supplement to the Interview 347 Bibliography of Works by Nikki R. Keddie since 1995 355 Index 357