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Feminism, Democracy, and Empire: Islam and the War on Terror

  • Saba Mahmood

Abstract

The complicated role European feminism played in legitimating and extending colonial rule in vast regions of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East has been extensively documented and well-argued for some time now.1 For many of us raised in this critical tradition, it is therefore surprising to witness the older colonialist discourse on women being reen-acted in new genres of feminist literature today, with the explicit aim of justifying the U.S. war on terror in the Muslim world. It seems at times a thankless task to unravel yet again the spurious logic through which Western imperial power seeks to justify its geopolitical domination by posing as the “liberator” of indigenous women from native patriarchal cultures. It would seem that this ideologically necessary but intellectually tedious task requires little imagination beyond repositioning the truths of the earlier scholarship on Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, and India that has copiously and rigorously laid bare the implicated histories of feminism and empire.

Keywords

Muslim Woman Indigenous Woman Muslim World Feminist Thought Muslim Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Women’s Studies in Religion Program, Harvard Divinity School 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saba Mahmood

There are no affiliations available

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