Synopses & Reviews
Feminist theories maintain that gender issues are a ubiquitous component of our lives, intersecting with every aspect of the society in which we live and interact. Because the feminist debate has included questions important to Jewish discourse, including religion, antisemitism, Zionism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is not surprising that such matters should also be of concern to Jewish women, many of whom have played an active role in feminist movements.
In Jewish Voices in Feminism, Nelly Las navigates primarily among three cultures (French, Anglo-American, and Israeli) to present a philosophical and historical analysis of the intersection between contemporary Jewish dilemmas and feminism and its impact on Jewish thinking. She also explains the ambivalent attitude of feminist activists regarding current developments in the Jewish world. This book, based on extensive documentation that includes written and oral testimonies, provides a wide variety of gender-centered approaches to ethics, solidarity, identity, and memory.
“On a matter that concerns us today—the question of identity—Nelly Las examines the diversity, contradictions, and complexities of various ‘Jewish voices’ in French and American feminism during the last half century. This thought-provoking book helps us to better hear and understand these voices in the context of our time.”—Michelle Perrot, coeditor of the History of Women in the West series and 2014 winner of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom
In this collection, Arab and Arab American feminists enlist their intimate experiences to challenge simplistic and long-held assumptions about gender, sexuality, and commitments to feminism and justice-centered struggles among Arab communities. Contributors hail from multiple geo-graphical sites, spiritualities, occupations, sexualities, class backgrounds, and generations. Poets, creative writers, artists, scholars, and activists employ a mix of genres to express feminist issues and highlight how Arab and Arab American feminist perspectives simultaneously inhabit multiple, overlapping, and intersecting spaces: within families and communities; in anticolonial and antiracist struggles; in debates over spirituality and the divine; within radical, feminist, and queer spaces; in academia and on the street; and among each other.
Contributors explore themes as diverse as the intersections between gender, sexuality, Orientalism, racism, Islamophobia, and Zionism, and the restoration of Arab Jews to Arab American histories. This book asks how members of diasporic communities navigate their sense of belong-ing when the country in which they live wages wars in the lands of their ancestors. Arab and Arab American Feminisms opens up new possibili-ties for placing grounded Arab and Arab American feminist perspectives at the center of gender studies, Middle East studies, American studies, and ethnic studies.
About the Author
Nelly Las is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is a Helen Gartner Hammer Scholar-in-Residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. Her interests include comparative Jewish diasporas in cross-cultural and gender perspectives. She is the author of Jewish Women in a Changing World: A History of the International Council of Jewish Women, originally published in French and available in English. Ruth Morris is a freelance translator and researcher.