Gender Studies

Muslim Women: Crafting a North American Identity

Shahnaz Khan, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000. 151 pages.

Shahnaz Khan’s study of Muslim female identity in Canada is a worthy contribution to the literature on Muslim experiences in the West. She explores how women negotiate their identities in-between the polarized discourses of Orientalism and Islam by occupying a hybridized third space. This third space is not only the site of resistance to the dominant Islamic and Orientalist prescriptives of Muslim female identity, but a starting point for Muslim women to engage in individual and collective projects to remap and reconfigure their identities in a process of cultural, political, and economic empowerment. Khan argues that progressive politics by and for Muslim women are possible only from this hybridized location. Her study elucidates this third space’s dynamics by examining the dialectic between the personal narratives of culturally diverse Canadian Muslim women and the political space they inhabit.

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