Date of Graduation

12-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Political Science

Advisor

Najib Ghadbian

Committee Member

Joel Gordon

Second Committee Member

Mohja Kahf

Keywords

Social sciences; Colonialism; Gender equality; Islam; Politics

Abstract

For centuries the West has seen the Muslim woman as an entire group of people in need of saving. Lacking a thorough understanding of Islam and an incredibly diverse Middle Eastern society, Western powers endeavored to shape women of the Middle East into secular, modern examples of "liberated" women. Completely unacknowledged in this pursuit are the grass roots movements that emerged out of nationalist movements in the early twentieth century. An attempt to understand why the West is so incredibly fascinated by Muslim is undertaken in this scholarly pursuit. Additionally, a case study on the nation of Egypt shows not only the rights enjoyed by Muslim women throughout the centuries, but the specific tenure of gender activism unique to this area of the world.

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