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Research Monographs in French Studies 29
Legenda: Oxford, 2010
£40.00 ($75.00 US) Hardback 156pp
In recent years, the figure of the Muslim Woman has loomed large over mainstream feminist debate in France. Cast alternately as a Frenchwoman-in-the-making or a veiled threat, the Muslim Woman has become emblematic of France’s relationship to those identified as its cultural others. But throughout these debates, and in spite of their scale and passion, one view has been glaringly absent: the view of French Muslim women themselves.
Drawing on sociological, polemical and literary writings, this thoughtful and wide-ranging study examines the unacknowledged colonial roots of French feminist discourses on Islam and femininity, before bringing to light examples of French Muslim women’s writing and activism that suggest alternative ways of being both French and a feminist.
Anna Kemp is a Junior Research Fellow in French at The Queen’s College Oxford.
Shortlisted for the 2012 Gapper Prize, awarded annually by the Society for French Studies for the best book of its year by a scholar working in French studies in Britain or Ireland.
- ‘Voices and Veils is an impressive evaluation of the fraught relationship between Islam, Muslim women, and French feminism... invaluable to students, teachers, and activists alike who desire a deeper understanding of postcolonial French society, of Islamic feminism, of colonial constructions of the Muslim woman, and, finally, of neo-imperial constructions which seek to delineate Muslim women living in the West.’ — Sophie Smith, Modern Language Review 106.4, 2011, 1168-69
- ‘It is often said that we write the books we want to read. Anna Kemp has written a book I would have liked to have written... Both specialists and beginners will learn tremendously from reading this concise and clearly written interdisciplinary study, which should be required reading in courses on French and Francophone literature, migration, world literature, Middle Eastern studies, European studies, and women’s studies. Any serious university library will want to include it in its collection.’ — Anne Donadey, Contemporary Women's Writing 5:3, November 2011, 257-58
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