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The Humanities Conference 2003

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A Search for an Authentic Discourse for the Muslim/Arab Woman

J. Sunita Peacock.

In this paper, I will attempt to explore the importance of space and identity in the lives of Middle-Eastern Muslim woman. I will begin this enquiry by examining the discourse given to these women by Western Feminist ideals, and the nationalist discourse of modernization, accrued by a patriarchal public voice coupled with the urgings of a national liberatory voice of public attitudes that depersonalize the particular problems these women face as they try to carve a space and identity for themselves. Congruently, I will note how the voices of these women in question are stifled as they journey from the confines of their domestic culture into the public arena. In the examination of the voice and the space occupied by these women, I will attempt to authenticate the ideas and theories of the inside/outside, traditional/non traditional, voice/voiceless dichotomies experienced by the Middle Eastern Muslim Woman. So as not to generalize or stereotype the lives of Muslim women residing in areas, such as, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Iran, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), I will use specific examples of women who are exposed to such dichotomized conflicts and attempt to respond to their specific cases as I emphasize the importance of the spaces these women reside in, and, the abstraction of their voices, as they journey through private and public spheres in their lives. The ultimate reason for this examination of locality and voice in the lives of these Middle Eastern women is to accentuate an understanding of their peripherality within specific cultures and to emphasize the depersonalization of women's struggles in the Arab/Muslim world.


J. Sunita Peacock  (United States)
Assistant Professor of English
Faculty, Department of English
Slippery Rock University

Ph.D. Postcolonial and Women’s Studies. Assistant Professor, English. Areas of Interest: World/Eastern/20th century British Literatures.

  • Feminism
  • Nationalism
  • Colonization
  • Identity
  • Patriarchy

(30 min Conference Paper, English)