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Agency, Performativity, And The Feminist Subject

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author probes some of the conceptual challenges that women's participation in the Islamist movement poses to feminist theorists and gender analysts through an ethnographic account of an urban women's mosque movement that is part of the Islamic Revival in Cairo, Egypt. The chapter focuses on the conceptions of self, moral agency, and embodiment that undergird the practices of this non-liberal movement so as to come to an understanding of the ethical projects that animate it. It explores how a particular notion of human agency in feminist scholarship is brought to bear upon the study of women involved in patriarchal religious traditions such as Islam. The chapter discusses the political affects of such a modality of analysis. To the degree that feminism is a politically prescriptive project, it requires the remaking of the sensibilities and commitments of women whose lives contrast with feminism's emancipatory visions.

Keywords: feminist theorists; gender; Islamic Revival; women



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