Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems Paperback – March 1, 2002 by Fatema Mernissi

> > SKU: 9780743412438


[240 Pages]

PUB:March 01, 2002


10 in stock



Author: Fatema Mernissi

Brand: Washington Square Press

Color: Multicolor

Edition: Reprint


  • ISBN13: 9780743412438
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Tracking provided on most orders. Buy with Confidence! Millions of books sold!

Package Dimensions: 14x216x372

Number Of Pages: 240

Release Date: 01-03-2002

Details: Product Description
Fatema Mernissi, the world-renowned Islamic feminist, has shed unprecedented light on the lives of women in the Middle East, in works hailed as “enchanting”
(The New York Times Book Review), “exuberant”
(Elle), and “remarkable”
(The Washington Post Book World). Now, in
Scheherazade Goes West, Mernissi reveals her unique experiences as a liberated, independent Moroccan woman faced with the peculiarities and unexpected encroachments of Western culture. Her often surprising discoveries about the conditions of and attitudes toward women around the world — and the exquisitely embroidered amalgam of clear-eyed autobiography and dazzling meta-fiction by which she relates those assorted discoveries — add up to a deliciously wry, engagingly cosmopolitan, and deeply penetrating narrative.
Arlie Russell Hochschild author of
The Second Shift and
The Time Bind Exploring traditions east and west, Mernissi employs the power of gentle humor to expose the foibles of both….A funny, sweet, wise, magical read by one of the very best writers we have.

Library Journal Brilliant and convincing, this is a provocative multicultural critique.
About the Author
Fatema Mernissi is a professor of sociology at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco. She is the bestselling author of
Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood, The Veil and the Male Elite, and
Beyond the Veil.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Chapter One: The Tale of the Lady with the Feather Dress

If by chance you were to meet me at the Casablanca airport or on a boat sailing from Tangiers, you would think me self-confident, but I am not. Even now, at my age, I am frightened when crossing borders because I am afraid of failing to understand strangers. “To travel is the best way to learn and empower yourself,” said Yasmina, my grandmother, who was illiterate and lived in a harem, a traditional household with locked gates that women were not supposed to open. “You must focus on the strangers you meet and try to understand them. The more you understand a stranger and the greater is your knowledge of yourself, the more power you will have.” For Yasmina, the harem was a prison, a place women were forbidden to leave. So she glorified travel and regarded the opportunity to cross boundaries as a sacred privilege, the best way to shed powerlessness. And, indeed, rumors ran wild in Fez, the medieval city of my childhood, about trained Sufi masters who got extraordinary “flashes” (
lawami’) and expanded their knowledge exponentially, simply because they were so focused on learning from the foreigners who passed through their lives.

A few years ago, I had to visit ten Western cities for the promotion of my book,
Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood, which appeared in 1994 and was translated into twenty-two languages. During that tour, I was interviewed by more than a hundred Western journalists and I soon noticed that most of the men grinned when pronouncing the word “harem.” I felt shocked by their grins. How can anyone smile when invoking a word synonymous with prison, I wondered. For my grandmother Yasmina, the harem was a cruel institution that sharply curtailed her rights, starting with the “right to travel and discover Allah’s beautiful and complicated planet,” as she put it. But according to Yasmina’s philosophy, which I later discovered she had adopted from the Sufis, the mystics of Islam, I needed to transform my feelings of shock toward the Western journalists into an openness to learn from them. At first, I had great difficulty doing so and started wondering if perhaps, due to my age, I was losing my capacity to adapt to new situations. I felt terrified of becoming stiff and unable to digest the unexpected. No one noticed my anxiety during my book promotion tour, however, because I was wearing my huge Berber silver bracelet and my red Chanel lipstick.

To learn from travel, o

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