History | Women and Gender in the Middle East
C305 | 26694 | Scalenghe


A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to undergraduates and Education MA’s only
Above class meets with NELC-N304

The media routinely portrays Middle Eastern women as oppressed,
citing Islam as the most significant source of such oppression. But
what exactly is meant by “Middle Eastern women” and by “Islam,” and
how and to what degree are women oppressed? This course is designed
to provide a nuanced understanding of the history of women and
gender in the Middle East, here defined as the Arab world, Turkey,
and Iran. We will explore gender in the Qur’an and Hadith, Islamic
law, the veil and the harem, sexuality (including the highly
contested topics of homosexuality), and women’s movements and
political participation. The course consists of lectures, audio-
visual presentations, and group discussions. Requirements include
participation, quizzes, short written assignments, a midterm, and a
take-home final exam. Some knowledge of the Middle East is
preferable but not required. The following books should be purchased:
1) Ahmed, Leila. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a
Modern Debate. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992. ISBN-13: 978-
0300049428. Paperback.
2) Tucker, Judith. Women, Family, and Gender in Islamic Law. New
York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0521537476.
Paperback.