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Women and Gender in Middle East History

New course in Fall 2006 taught by Keddie-Balzan Fellow Janet Rostam-Kolayi

Veils? Harems? Submission? Repression? Are these words that you associate with Middle Eastern women? We have been taught to believe that Islamic culture, social codes, and religious law force women into complete submission to male authority. Our preconceptions about Islam and Middle Eastern culture in general have shown us only one picture of women in the region. This course studies the history of the evolving status and roles of women in Middle Eastern societies focusing on topics, such as religion, law, education, work, the family, the state, nationalism, colonialism, feminism, contemporary politics, and cultural production.  The focus of this course is on the majority of women of the region, that is Muslims, although the subject of non-Muslim women, particularly Christian and Jewish, will also be addressed.

Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos and a Balzan-Keddie Fellow in the Department of History for 2006-07. Her current research focuses on gender and education in early twentieth-century Iran.  Her publications include  'Expanding Agendas for the "New" Iranian Woman: Family Law, Work, and Unveiling' in S. Cronin, ed., The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society Under Riza Shah, 1921-1941 (2003) and 'Foreign Education, the Women's Press, and the Discourse of Scientific Domesticity in Early-Twentieth Century Iran' in N. Kekkie and R. Matthee, eds., Iran and the Surrounding World : Interactions in Culture and Cultural Politics (2002). 

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