Growing Up In Jerusalem

A Conversation with Jamila Freij

by Anita Vitullo Khoury
published in MER182

Jamila Freij (Umm Sam‘an) was born in 1930 in “new” Jerusalem, what is now called West Jerusalem. Her family had lived in Jerusalem’s Old City for 15 generations until 1925 when her father and his brother built houses in Bak‘a (which means “beautiful area”), then an unpopulated land outside the Old City walls. The family fled their homes just days before the establishment of the state of Israel. They never returned. Umm Sam‘an describes their life in Bak‘a, their flight in 1948 and return to the Christian Quarter of the Old City, and the family&rsuqo;s disintegration.

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Universalism and Solidarity

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER183

Fatima Mernissi, The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam (Addison-Wesley, 1991).

Hisham Sharabi, ed., Theory, Politics and the Arab World: Critical Responses (Routledge, 1990).

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Ann Russo and Lourdes Torres, eds., Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism (Indiana, 1991).

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Gender and Civil Society

An Interview with Suad Joseph

by Joe Stork
published in MER183

Suad Joseph, an editor of this magazine, teaches anthropology at the University of California-Davis and is a founder of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies and the Middle East Research Group in Anthropology. She has published extensively on sectarianism, gender and the family, and constructions of the self and state in Lebanon. Joe Stork spoke with her in early May.

What questions does the idea of civil society raise concerning gender?

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Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Off the Grid

Reading Iranian Memoirs in Our Time of Total War

by Negar Mottahedeh | published September 2004

Air-conditioned transportation in Tehran is notoriously difficult to find. For pampered visitors such as the cultural anthropologists and documentary filmmakers from New York and Los Angeles who seem to converge on the Iranian capital every summer, a cool taxi ride to the northern parts of town recalls something of the charmed life they left behind in the United States, a life some refer to offhandedly as “the grid.”

Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Lawfare and Wearfare in Turkey

by Hilal Elver | published April 2008

With war on its eastern borders, and renewed turmoil inside them, Turkey is transfixed by something else entirely: the desire of university-age women to wear the Muslim headscarf on campus, a seemingly innocent sartorial choice that has been forbidden by the courts, off and on, since 1980. At public meetings and street demonstrations, in art exhibits, TV ads, and dance and music performances, headscarf opponents argue vociferously that removing the ban will be the first step backward to the musty old days of the Ottoman Empire. A quieter majority of 70 percent, according to a recent poll, thinks that pious students should be allowed to cover their heads, perhaps because approximately 64 percent of Turkish women do so in daily life.

A Campaign Rally in Sanaa

by David Warburton
published in MER185

Just within the walls of the old city of Sanaa, southeast of Bab al-Sha‘ub, a large tent has been erected in an open square. People are milling about -- mostly children, but also men and women. The candidate is talking to a group of people as one of her opponents drives by in a black Mercedes. The candidate, Ra’ufa Hasan al-Sharqi, has her own white Volvo parked discreetly some distance away.

The neighborhood is a poor one with the walls of all the houses covered with posters for several candidates -- but not for al-Sharqi. The independent candidate explains that displaying her posters on residential houses is forbidden, and how could she claim the right to make laws as a deputy if she had broken the law in order to become one.

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Israeli Women, Palestinian Women

by Purnima Bose
published in MER186

Deborah S. Bernstein, ed., Pioneers and Homemakers: Jewish Women in Pre-State Israel (SUNY, 1992).

Barbara Swirski and Marilyn P. Safir, eds., Calling the Equality Bluff: Women in Israel (Pergamon, 1991).

Elise G. Young, Keepers of the History: Women and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Teachers College Press, 1992).

Philippa Strum, The Women Are Marching: The Second Sex and the Palestinian Revolution (Lawrence Hill, 1992).

Orayb Aref Najjar, with Kitty Warnock, Portraits of Palestinian Women (Utah, 1992).

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Searching for Strategies

The Palestinian Women's Movement in the New Era

by Rita Giacaman , Penny Johnson
published in MER186

Women and Gender in the Middle East

by Nancy Reynolds
published in MER190

Nikki R. Keddie and Beth Baron, eds., Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender (Yale, 1991).

Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate (Yale, 1992).

An eighteenth-century Ottoman woman left her urban household enshrouded in heavy veils. An Egyptian woman in the 1990s puts on her hijab before going out to work. To many Westerners, the veiled woman, repeated endlessly in popular and scholarly texts about the Middle East, is a signifier of Islamic patriarchy.

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Autonomy and Gender in Egyptian Families

by Cynthia Lloyd , Laila Nawar , Barbara Ibrahim
published in MER190

The Egyptian family is changing in significant ways, modified by the social and economic realities of everyday life which are in turn affected by changes in the local and international economy. Extended family living arrangements are declining in favor of nuclear families, which now account for 84 percent of all households.

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