This essay examines representations of Iraqi women in the works of poets, novelists, and public intellectuals during the Hashemite period. Defining the functions of women in modern Muslim societies, Iraqi intellectuals sought inspiration in the writings of Egyptian and Turkish writers. I demonstrate, however, that the discourse about women grew more Iraqi-centric in the 1940s and 50s. I also argue that the changes in the representations of women mirrored the radicalization of the Iraqi intelligentsia. While during the interwar period, the conversation about gender roles was mostly conducted among men who debated education, seclusion, and domesticity, after World War II, social democrats, communists, and radical pan-Arabists utilized the mistreatment of women as a way to criticize the Hashemite state. Women affiliated with these groups defined themselves as citizens, rather than national subjects, with equal rights. The discourse also had global aspects, as Iraqi intellectuals appropriated and hybridized colonial perceptions of Muslim women.
Research Article|March 01 2008
Orit Bashkin; Representations of Women in the Writings of the Intelligentsia in Hashemite Iraq, 1921–1958. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 March 2008; 4 (1): 53–82. doi: https://doi.org/10.2979/MEW.2008.4.1.53
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