Reina Lewis, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004. 297 pages.
In her book, Reina Lewis discusses how to acquire an accurate understanding of the various strands of neo-Orientalism that perpetuate long-lasting and contemporary stereotypes of Muslim women from traditional Islamic societies. Within the context of the current global and geopolitical landscape as well as the alleged American war on terror, the competing western imperialist and orientalist images, along with negative stereotypes, that characterize Muslim women are rhetorical. According to Lewis, all of these elements are at the center of knowledge that is produced and reproduced. This book focuses on Ottoman women’s writing from the beginning of the twentieth century and traces their “travel accounts, memories, and fractions that reveal a gendered counter-discourse that challenges Occidental stereotypes” (p. 1). The author’s main theme is how these writings not only challenged western Orientalist discourses, but also intervened in the Ottoman debate about women and national emancipation. The book, which follows an interdisciplinary approach, is divided into six chapters.