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The Women Of Karbala

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Overview

Commemorating the Battle of Karbala, in which the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Hosayn and seventy-two of his family members and supporters were martyred in 680 CE, is the central religious observance of Shi'i Islam. Though much has been written about the rituals that reenact and venerate Karbala, until now no one has studied women's participation in these observances. This collection of original essays by a multidisciplinary team of scholars analyzes the diverse roles that women have played in the Karbala rituals, as well as the varied ways in which gender-coded symbols have been used within religious and political discourses.

The contributors to this volume consider women as participants in and observers of the Karbala rituals in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, India, Pakistan, and the United States. They find that women's experiences in the Shi'i rituals vary considerably from one community to another, based on regional customs, personal preferences, religious interpretations, popular culture, and socioeconomic background. The authors also examine the gender symbolism within the rituals, showing how it reinforces distinctions between the genders while it also highlights the centrality of women to the symbolic repertory of Shi'ism. Overall, the authors conclude that while Shi'i rituals and symbols have in some ways been used to restrict women's social roles, in other ways they have served to provide women with a sense of independence and empowerment.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292709591
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 310
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

KAMRAN SCOT AGHAIE is Assistant Professor of Islamic and Iranian History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Table of Contents

A Note on Transliteration
Acknowledgments

Introduction. Gendered Aspects of the Emergence and Historical Development of Shi'i Symbols and Rituals
Kamran Scot Aghaie

Part 1: Iran
Chapter 1. Ta'ziyeh: A Twist of History in Everyday Life
Negar Mottahedeh
Chapter 2. The Gender Dynamics of Moharram Rituals in the Latter Years of Qajar Rule
Kamran Scot Aghaie
Chapter 3. "Oh, My Heart Is Sad. It Is Moharram, the Month of Zaynab": The Role of Aesthetics and Women's Mourning Ceremonies in Shiraz
Ingvild Flaskerud
Chapter 4. The Daughters of Karbala: Images of Women in Popular Shi'i Culture in Iran
Faegheh Shirazi
Chapter 5. Iconography of the Women of Karbala: Tiles, Murals, Stamps, and Posters
Peter J. Chelkowski

Part 2: The Arab World, South Asia, and the United States of America
Chapter 6. Sakineh, The Narrator of Karbala: An Ethnographic Description of a Women's Majles Ritual in Pakistan
Shemeem Burney Abbas
Chapter 7. Sayyedeh Zaynab: The Conqueror of Damascus and Beyond
Syed Akbar Hyder
Chapter 8. Gender and Moharram Rituals in an Isma'ili Sect of South Asian Muslims
Rehana Ghadially
Chapter 9. Women of Karbala Moving to America: Shi'i Rituals in Iran, Pakistan, and California
Mary Elaine Hegland
Chapter 10. Women's Religious Rituals in Iraq
Elizabeth Warnock Fernea and Basima Q. Bezirgan
Chapter 11. From Mourning to Activism: Sayyedeh Zaynab, Lebanese Shi'i Women, and the Transformation of Ashura
Lara Z. Deeb
Bibliography
Index

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