Gender Studies

An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi`i Lebanon

Lara Deeb, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. 263 pages.

In An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi`i Lebanon, cultural anthropologist Lara Deeb writes an ethnography about a group of Shi`i Muslim women in a Beirut community. She follows their religious and social commitments, allows them to express their individual and collective sentiments, and describes their understanding of piety and how they manifest it in their commitment to social activism. She argues that they create a space for Islam within the modern world and that the notions Islam and modernity are not contradictory, but rather complementary. Her subjects practice authenticated Islam, which she defines as an Islam that has a modern interpretation based on knowledge and understanding, in contrast to a traditional, unquestioned Islam that is followed blindly by the older generations. 

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