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The Egyptian women's movement has been heralded as improving the lives of women in Egypt and paving the way for women throughout the Arab world. As seen through the eyes of the university-educated elite and middle class, this is no doubt true, yet such a narrow view fails to account for the diversity of women's experience. Cathlyn Mariscotti provides a critical reexamination of the women's movement in light of class differences. Framing it within the broader economic and political movements occurring in Egypt and abroad, her nuanced account of the women's movement unveils a rich, differentiated, and complex history of Egyptian women.Drawing upon published journal reports and newspaper articles, Mariscotti explores the tensions between upper-class harem women and lower-class women. The author describes the way in which elite feminism created a concept of womanhood that fed into the nationalist cultural ideal, one that was not necessarily progressive for all Egyptian women. Demonstrating active resistance, the nonelite women constructed a model of feminism in line with their own class position and political interests. From this class struggle, a unique, synthesized form of feminism emerged, infused with the politics and culture of Egypt at that time. Humanizing her analysis, the author profiles two outspoken and prominent women who symbolize the conflict: the university-educated and wealthy Huda Sha'rawi and Munira Thabit, who represented the working-class women. The first to emphasize the class conflict among women, this book makes an invaluable contribution to the fields of women's studies and Middle East studies.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780815631705
ISBN-10: 0815631707
Format: Hardback
(229mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Pages: 184
Imprint: Syracuse University Press
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Publish Date: 15-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United States


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Author Biography - Cathlyn Mariscotti

Cathlyn Mariscotti is associate professor of history at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.