You are on page 1of 4

Rebecca Moody November 2012 Comprehensive Exam Proposal: Movement; Professor Amy Kallander The Piety Movement in North

Africa and the Middle East

! In this exam, I propose a study of the rise of a Muslim piety movement across North Africa and the Middle East over the last three decades. Following a rise in contemporary political Islamist movements in the 1970s, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 emerges as a visible moment drawing global and local attention. Thus, it shepherded social, cultural, religious and political contexts in and from which public iterations of Islamic practice visibly ourished. In the midst of the burgeoning visibility of Islamic practices as they are performed by and marked on Muslim bodies, traces of this piety movement touch most all parts of the Islamic world in different ways and to different extents not in uniform or universal iterations but in regional specicities. My focus in this exam will be the different iterations of this piety movement across the Arab world. ! This date is a short-hand for local and regional, individual and collective contexts; this designation of a movement with such wide geographic focus relays the absence of an overtly organized piety movement in name or form. A relatively new line of inquiry, the piety movement is more an academic term than one used at local levels by individual practitioners. It designates the increasing visibility of lived Islamic practices in public spheres as well as associated discussions about what constitutes correct Islamic practices and their individual and collective relevance. Thus, pious practices are most simply understood as lived performances of individual beliefs that are most visible at the individual level: proper observance of the pillars of Islam such as prayer and zakat, or charity; the widespread community service thought to embody zakat; modest dress (often seen in womens use of the veil but extending to modest dress for both women and men); and guidelines for social interaction with the opposite sex. ! Pious practices are locally-centered expressions; their iterations differ depending on geographic, cultural and religious histories even while certain markers remain consistent across different contexts, including an increasing number of mosques, charitable organizations and volunteer-based social services under religious umbrellas. For example, pious practices in Cairo yield womens claiming of and access to mosques as they lead prayer and openly interpret the Quran, sunna and hadith. In the suburbs of Beirut, these ongoing interpretations nd visibility among women in their embrace of community service across Lebanons economically depressed and war ravaged Shia populations. Pious practices, then, combine internal expressions of pious thought and external expressions of pious behavior. Whereas Islamist political movements incorporate an overt emphasis on political claims based in religious texts, laws and histories, piety movements focus more on individual behaviors and practices that cannot be subsumed under traditional or modern binaries. Even the practice of veiling (as political and pious act, as a style of dress for or a statement about interaction between women and men) marks aspects of religiosity as public and thus necessarily performative. Individuals intentionally living and publicly performing Islam focus on markers of piety reected in the veil as well as on relationships between husbands and wives, on transforming (womens location in relation to) public spaces such as mosques, on embracing literacy movements and encouraging access to education for women and men. Given my focus on the intersection and representation of women in / and religion, I look for markers of piety played out on womens physical bodies: the ways their bodies are expected to perform that piety. To what extent, then, are piety movements marked and made visible on, by and through womens bodies?

Rebecca Moody November 2012 Comprehensive Exam Proposal: Movement; Professor Amy Kallander The Piety Movement in North Africa and the Middle East

! My bibliography includes scholarship on piety movements and pious practices, placing them in relation to Islamic and secular feminisms; my exam will look for ways that they intersect with and are seen in relation to each other. My readings focus on local iterations marking similar and divergent patterns across the larger Middle East; they also include scholarship on representations of women, secularism and piety in popular culture, rst, in order to locate emphases placed on womens bodies and, then, to see different examples of Islamisms and secluarisms as they interact with feminisms. Finally, I engage the visibility of these markers of piety through their expression in popular culture - lm and television - not, as often happens in contemporary scholarship about women and / in Islam, for iterations of hijab but for differently visible markers of pious practices including hijab that mark womens bodies across popular culture. ! Ultimately, then, this exam situates the piety movement of the Middle East in a variety of national and regional contexts. For instance, how do Islamic feminisms, secular feminisms and the piety movement differently intersect in these varied contexts? Finally, it questions the relation between piety and identity, individual or collective: How does an individual see herself in relation to larger (Islamic / Muslim) collectives in which she is centered? How, in turn, does a group see itself? On what sub-groups does the larger group focus in order to create and make visible emergent identities associated with changes in contemporary social, political, economic and religious realities? How does the piety movement work with (and sometimes against) secular feminisms? How are constructions and articulations of the modern (Muslim, feminist) subject seen on womens bodies by others? Bibliography Womens Rights and Secular Feminisms Ahmed, Leila. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992. Brand, Laurie. Women, the State and Political Liberalization: Middle Eastern and North African Experiences. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. Charrad, Mounira. States and Womens Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001. Lazreg, Marnia. The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question. New York: Routledge, 1994. Mernissi, Fatima. Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1987, 1975. Mir-Hosseini, Marriage on Trial: A Study of Islamic Family Law in Iran and Morocco. London: I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2000. Salime, Zakia. Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minneapolis Press: 2011. Tucker, Judith. Women, Family, and Gender in Islamic Law. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Wadud, Amina. Quran and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Womans Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Rebecca Moody November 2012 Comprehensive Exam Proposal: Movement; Professor Amy Kallander The Piety Movement in North Africa and the Middle East

Islamic Reform and Piety Deeb, Lara. An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shii Lebanon. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006. Haj, Samira. Reconguring Islamic Tradition: Reform, Rationality, and Modernity. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009 Halevi, Leor. The Consumer Jihad: Boycott Fatwas and Nonviolent Resistance on the World Wide Web. International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (2012): 45-70. Hirschkind, Charles. The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009. Hirschkind, Charles. Experiments in Devotion Online: The Youtube Khu"ba. International Journal of Middle East Studies 44 (2012): 5-12. Hoodfar, Homa. Between Marriage and the Market: Intimate Politics and Survival in Cairo. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997. Mahmood, Saba. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005. Piety through Religion and Secularism in Popular Culture Abu-Lughod, Lila. Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. Abaza, Mona. Shifting Landscapes of Fashion in Contemporary Egypt. In Fashion Theory 11:2/3 (2007): 282-297. Balasescu, Alexandra. Haute Couture in Tehran: Two Faces of an Emerging Fashion Scene. In Fashion Theory 11:2/3 (2007): 299-317. Bayat, Asef. Islamism and the Politics of Fun. Public Culture 19:3 (2007): 433-59. Box, Laura Chakravarty. Strategies of Resistance in the Dramatic Texts of North African Women: A Body of Words. New York: Routledge, 2005. Bunt, Gary. iMuslims: Rewiring the House of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 009. Hawkins, Simon. Who Wears Hijab with the President: Constructing a Modern Islam in Tunisia. Journal of Religion in Africa 44:1 (2011): 35-58. Khalil, Andrea. The Arab Avant-Garde: Experiments in North African Art and Literature. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2003. Khalil, Andrea. North African Cinema in a Global Context: Through the Lens of Diaspora. London: Routledge, 2008. Khatib, Lina. Filming the Modern Middle East: Politics in the Cinemas of Hollywood and the Arab World. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2006. Khatib, Lina. Image Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the Visual in Political Struggle. New York: I.B. Tauria, 2012. Limbrick, Peter. Moumen Smihis Tanjawi / Tangrois / Tangerian Cinema. Third Text 4:1 (July 2012): 443-54. Martin, Florence. Screens and Veils: Maghrebi Womens Cinema. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2011. Moors, Annelies. Fashionable Muslins: Notions of Self, Religion and Society in Sana. In Fashion Theory 11:2/3 (2007): 319-46.

Rebecca Moody November 2012 Comprehensive Exam Proposal: Movement; Professor Amy Kallander The Piety Movement in North Africa and the Middle East

Orlando, Valerie. Screening Morocco: Contemporary Depictions in Film of a Changing Society. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2011. Shak, Viola. Popular Egyptian Cinema: Gender, Class and Nation. New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2007.