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Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender

Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender

by Nikki R. Keddie, Beth Baron

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Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Combining scholarship and theory, these essays are loosely organized to concentrate on the early Islamic centuries, the Mamluk period (1250-1517) and the modern age (essentially the 18th century through the 1980s). The authors generally focus on the subject of ``gender boundaries'' in order to demonstrate the changing position of women in Middle Eastern society. Because the region is culturally diverse and the span of time considered is vast, the collection remains miscellaneous, providing detailed studies of endowment deeds in late medieval Egypt and textile manufacturing in the Bursa factories during the 19th century but leaving enormous gaps. Much of the writing is awkward and overburdened with jargon. One bright spot is Paula Sanders's ``Gendering the Ungendered Body: Hermaphrodites in Medieval Islamic Law,'' a marvelous study of medieval Muslim jurists' struggle to incorporate the hermaphrodite in a world where the boundaries between male and female were strictly delineated. Keddie is the author of Roots of Revolution ; Baron teaches history at New York City College. (Feb.)

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Yale University Press
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