Synopses & Reviews
Syrian feminist activist Bouthaina Shaaban revisits Both Right and Left Handed, her widely admired book based on interviews with Lebanese, Syrian, Palestinian, and Algerian women (IUP, 1991). Arab women from varied social and economic backgrounds express a wide range of opinions on the traditions and institutions that shape their lives. Themes include the impact of war and the emancipating role of women as freedom fighters, the misinterpretation of Islamic laws and social values that underlies male-dominated institutions in Arab countries, the sacrifices of Arab women to keep the family unit together, and such previously taboo issues as lesbian relationships and premarital sex. In her new introduction, Shaaban recounts the significant progress that Arab women have made in pursuing opportunities for education and professional and political advancement during the last 20 years. Equally passionate is Shaaban's personal account of her journey from childhood in an obscure Syrian village to representing her country as a top-ranking political figure while continuing to fight for female equality.
This new version of Syrian feminist Bouthaina Shaaban's book tells the revealing stories of Syrian, Palestinian, Lebanese, and Algerian women. This volume explores issues
of Islamic law and social expectations of women, women freedom fighters, male-dominated institutions, and even premarital sex and lesbian relationships in Arab societies. Shaaban offers a new preface which describes the progress Arab women have made in their societies in the 20 years since the book was first published, and also chronicles her journey from childhood in a small village in Syria to serving as a top ranking official while continuing her feminist activism.Jarron Bowman, MIDDLE EAST JOURNAL, Spring 2010
"A brave and moving book." --Ms. magazine Indiana University Press
"An intriguing voyage into the otherwise hidden lives of Arab women." --Washington Post Book World Indiana University Press
Personal stories of Arab women illustrate their daily lives and struggles
About the Author
Bouthaina Shaaban is a professor of English literature at Damascus University and Political and Media Advisor to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Ziad Hamzeh's 2008 film, Woman, based on Shaaban's life and work, was awarded the Golden Palm for best film at the 2008 Beverly Hills Film Festival. Shaaban lives in Damascus, Syria.
Table of Contents
Preface to the 2009 Edition: An Arab Woman Asking How
Introduction: An Arab Woman Saying No
1. Syria: Guaranteed Rights for All, Except at Home
2. Lebanon: Women Embattled
3. Palestine: Women's Way of Surviving
4. Algeria: Sharing the Struggle
5. And Now What?