A History of Women's Seclusion in the Middle East: The Veil in the Looking Glass

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Overview

A History of Women's Seclusion in the Middle East: The Veil in the Looking Glass is a critical interdisciplinary examination of the practice of seclusion of women throughout the Middle East from its beginnings. This challenging exploration discusses the reasons that seclusion may not be as oppressive as is generally accepted, and, in fact, may be an empowering force for women in both the West and East. Readers are taken on a controversial, belief-bending journey deep into the surprising origins and diverse aspects of female seclusion to find solid evidence of its surprising use as a defense against monolithic cultural exploitation.

Internationally acclaimed author Ann Chamberlin uses her extensive knowledge of Middle Eastern culture, language, and even archeology to provide a convincing assertion challenging the Western view that seclusion was and is a result of women's oppression. A History of Women's Seclusion in the Middle East goes beyond standard feminist rhetoric to put forth shocking notions on the real reasons behind women's seclusion and how it has been used to counteract cultural exploitation. The book reviews written evidence, domestic and sacred architecture, evolution, biology, the clan, the environment for seclusion, trade, capital and land, slavery, honor, and various other aspects in a powerful feminist argument that seclusion is actually a valuable empowering force of protection from the influence of today's society. The text includes black and white figures with useful descriptions to illustrate and enhance reader understanding of concepts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789029836
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/15/2006
  • Series: Innovations in Feminist Studies
  • Pages: 316
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents


Foreword   Peter Lamborn Wilson     ix
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction     1
Seclusion at Work     5
Examples     8
A Return to the Taliban     23
Ancient Veiling     27
Artistic Representation     27
Written Evidence     30
Domestic Architecture     39
Architecture: The Sacred     57
In the Sacred Storehouse     57
Sacred Pegs     61
"HRM"     64
Balance in the Paleolithic: Sacred Time, Space, and Persons     69
Evolution     77
Biology     85
The Clan     91
Environment for Seclusion     99
Trade     107
Capital and Land     113
The British Parallel: Enclosure     115
Liberation of the Individual     123
The Hunger for the Individual     124
The Urban Mesopotamian Clan     127
How Mesopotamian Culture Effected Individual Alienation     129
The Personal God     130
Cities of Power     135
Vernacular Gender     149
Slavery     157
Honor     169
Masscult     181
Women's Tongue     191
For Men Only     203
The Fate of Seclusion in the West     217
Conclusion     229
Notes     239
Bibliography     263
Index     289
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