The cultural politics of Shi'I modernism: Morality and gender in early 20th-century Lebanon

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Abstract

In an early 1980s interview, Amira Muhammad 'Ali al-Houmani, daughter of one of the 20th century's most revered Lebanese Shi'i poets, insisted that the "southern woman" (al-mar'a al-janūbiyya) had always been a "partner" to the southern Lebanese man, both "in the house and in the field." She explained how Lebanese women both in and from the south have historically played important domestic as well as productive economic roles spanning both the private and the public. Beyond casual nods toward their political and economic participation, however, disputes about and including Shi'i women in Lebanon and, more broadly put, discussions of and about gender, generally have been occluded from historical narratives. Considering the indisputable contemporary significance of Lebanese Shi'i communities in Jabal 'Amil (South Lebanon), the Beka' Valley, and Beirut, it is even more remarkable that the diverse histories of gender in Shi'i Lebanon have yet to be written.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-270
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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