Revisited: Muslim Women’s agency and feminist anthropology of the Middle East

16 Oct 2017

This article locates imaginative aspects of human subjectivity as a feminist issue by reviewing the concept of agency in the genealogy of Muslim and Middle Eastern women in anthropological and ethnographic literature. It suggests that, if feminist scholarship of the Middle East would continue approaching to Muslim women’s agency -as it has been doing for decades-, it should do so as an epistemological question and thus expand the limits of ethnographic and analytical focus beyond the broader systems, such as family, nation, religion, and state. As an example to this proposition, the article then discusses the recent work on aspects of selfhood that escape from the structures, rules, systems, and discursive limits of life but captures imaginations, aspirations, desires, yearnings, and longings.