Folklore | Tales Middle Eastern Women Tell
F307 | 5469 | El-Shamy


This course examines women's culture(s) as portrayed in their tales
and related traditional form of expression. Traditions treated will
include selections from several communities in the ethnically,
linguistically, and religiously diverse "Arab World" (e.g., Berber,
Aramaic, Nubian, etc.).

The contents are grouped into 6 segments:

I. Introduction: A general survey of "the Arab World," its societies,
and cultures.
II. A Brief history of women's status in Arab communities: the role
of Islam and other religious systems.
III. Kinship systems and the female's role(s).
IV. Economic systems and the working female as "bread winner".
V. Tales as cognitive descriptions of life and living under specific
conditions: self concept, self-esteem, social roles
(chiftainess/matriarch, servant; mother, wife, sister, daughter,
cousin, etc.). The stereotyped female: male and female views.
VI. European/Western theories and Arab stories: the literary and the
oral traditional.

Main textbook:
H. El-Shamy. Tales Arab Women Tell: And the Behavioral Patterns they
Portray. Collected, translated, edited, and interpreted by Hasan M.
El-Shamy. Indiana University Press, 1999.