This article analyzes two books that utilize the construct of “The Muslim Woman” as a symbol for public consumption across a global and conceptual scale: Saba Mahmood’s book, 'Politics of Piety', and Malala Yousafzai’s and Christina Lamb’s 'I am Malala'. The motivation behind the analysis is to situate the texts within debates on essentialism within accounts of Muslim women. While essentialism and the critique of it in such discussions are not a novelty, the books demonstrate a physical manifestation of essentialism and a reductionist reaction toward this brand of essentialism. Through analysis of the content, poetics, and response toward the books, I argue that scholarship surround Muslim women are still mired in essentialism albeit efforts to avoid it due to a lack in direction as to how to resolve the issue. I suggest using a combination of power convolution and intersectionality of identities to capture the representation of Muslim women.
Essentialism, postmodernism, intersectionality, Malala, Muslim women
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Wong, Wei Mei
"The Politics of Pity versus Piety: The Poetics and Politics Behind Different Feminist Accounts on the Muslim Woman,"
Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Multidisciplinary Studies: Vol. 6
, Article 3.
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