Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: The Limits of Postmodern Analysis

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Zed Books, 1999 M10 29 - 166 pages
A highly controversial intervention into the debate on postmodernism and feminism, this book looks at what happens when these modes of analysis are jointly employed to illuminate the sexual politics of Islam.

As a religion, Islam has been demonized for its gender practices like no other. This book analyzes that Orientalism, with particular reference to representations of Muslim women and describes the real sexual politics of Islam. The author goes on to describe the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the West's response to it. She argues that regardless of the sophisticated argument of postmodernists and their suspicion of power, as an intellectual and political movement postmodernism has put itself in the service of power and the status quo. Moghissi brilliantly demonstrates how this trend has given rise to a neo-conservative feminism.

A major feminist critique of Islamic fundamentalism, this book asks some hard questions of those who, in denouncing the racism of Western feminism, have taken up an uncritical embrace of the Islamic identity of Muslim women. It is urgent reading for all those concerned about human rights, as well as for students and academics of women's studies, political science, social theory and religious studies.


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Imagined and Real
From Orientalism to Islamic Feminism
Postmodern Relativism and the Politics
Islamic Fundamentalism and its Nostalgic Accomplice
Women Modernity and Social Change
Conflict and Compromise
Islamic Feminism and its Discontents

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About the author (1999)

Haideh Moghissi is an associate professor of sociology and women's studies at Atkinson College, York University, Toronto. Before leaving Iran 1984, she was a senior archivist in the Iran National Archives. She was a founder of the National Union of Women and member of its first executive board and the editorial board of Barabari (Equality) and Zanan Dar Mobarezeh (Women in Struggle).

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