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With vocal public figures such as Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, and Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam often appears to be a male-centric religious movement, and over 60 years of scholarship have perpetuated that notion. Yet, women have been pivotal in the NOI's development, playing a major role in creating the public image that made it appealing and captivating. Women of the Nation draws on oral histories and interviews with approximately 100 women across several cities to provide an overview of women's historical contributions and their varied experiences of the NOI, including both its continuing community under Farrakhan and its offshoot into Sunni Islam under Imam W.D. Mohammed. The authors examine how women have interpreted and navigated the NOI's gender ideologies and practices, illuminating the experiences of African-American, Latina, and Native American women within the NOI and their changing roles within this patriarchal movement. The book argues that the Nation of Islam experience for women has been characterized by an expression of Islam sensitive to American cultural messages about race and gender, but also by gender and race ideals in the Islamic tradition. It offers the first exhaustive study of women’s experiences in both the NOI and the W.D. Mohammed community.
"Focusing on women, who sometimes move outside of their ethnic Muslim spaced and interact with other Muslim ethnic groups in search of gender justice, this ethnographic study of African American and South Asian immigrant Muslims in Chicago and Atlanta explores how Islamic ideas of racial harmony amd equality create hopeful possibilities in an American society that remains challenged by race and class inequalities."--Page 4 of cover.
This book offers a comprehensive ethnographic study of African-American Muslims. Drawing on hundreds of interviews conducted over a period of several years, Dannin provides an unprecedented look inside the fascinating and little understood world of black Muslims. He discovers that the well-known and cult-like Nation of Islam represents only a small part of the picture. Many more African-Americans are drawn to Islamic orthodoxy, with its strict adherence to the Qur'an. Dannin takes us to the First Cleveland Mosque, the oldest continuing Muslim institution in America, on to a permament Muslim village in Buffalo, and then inside New York's maximum-security prisons to hear testimony of the powerful attraction of Islam for individuals in desperate situations. He looks at the aftermath of the assassination of Malcolm X, and the ongoing warfare between the Nation of Islam and orthodox Muslims. Accessibly written, filled with gripping first-hand testimony, and featuring superb illustrations by photographer Jolie Stahl, this book will be the best available guide to the beliefs and culture of African-American Muslims.
New Perspectives on the Nation of Islam contributes to the ongoing dialogue about the nature and influence of the Nation of Islam (NOI), bringing fresh insights to areas that have previously been overlooked in the scholarship of Elijah Muhammad’s NOI, the Imam W.D. Mohammed community and Louis Farrakhan’s Resurrected NOI. Bringing together contributions that explore the formation, practices, and influence of the NOI, this volume problematizes the history of the movement, its theology, and relationships with other religious movements. Contributors offer a range of diverse perspectives, making connections between the ideology of the NOI and gender, dietary restrictions and foodways, the internationalization of the movement, and the civil rights movement. This book provides a state-of-the-art overview of current scholarship on the Nation of Islam, and will be relevant to scholars of American religion and history, Islamic studies, and African American Studies.
Explores modern African-American Islamic thought within the context of Islamic history, giving special attention to questions of universality versus particularity.
"This sharp and timely book is a pioneering contribution. Systematically mapping African American women's lives within Islam for the first time, Rouse establishes that engagement is as meaningful an ethic as liberation for black women, and black folk generally. A provocative, deeply conscientious work that will engender overdue debate in anthropology, feminist studies, black studies, and Islamic studies."--Adam Green, Assistant Professor of History and American Studies, New York University "Rouse's study charts a neglected and much misunderstood path for Black women's empowerment. What we learn rocks many assumptions of liberalism, Western feminism, women's activism, and prevailing notions of freedom. In a climate where the status of women within Islam is uncritically used as proof of women's oppression, Engaged Surrender reads like a breath of fresh air."--Patricia Hill Collins, author of Black Feminist Thought "Engaged Surrender is an insightful ethnographic analysis of two dozen women who are members of two masjids in southern California. We learn about their conversions, the ways their lives have changed, and how they negotiate a desire for agency and a traditional gender hierarchy--from childrearing, to hijab-wearing, to work, to marriage, to Qur'anic exegesis. Rouse's vivid portrayal of her subjects and fluent familiarity with feminist debates and anthropological theory make this book a compelling new study, particularly in the wake of 9/11."--Faye Ginsburg, author of Contested Lives
A Nation Can Rise No Higher Than Its Women: African American Muslim Women in the Movement for Black Self Determination, 1950–1975 challenges traditional notions and interpretations of African American, particularly women who joined the Original Nation of Islam during the Civil Rights-Black Power era. This book is the first major investigation of the subject that engages a wide scope of women from “The Nation” and utilizes a wealth of primary documents and personal interviews to reveal the importance of women in this community. Jeffries reveals that women were respected in the movement and maintained a very clear and often sought after voice in the advancement of the Original Nation of Islam. A Nation Can Rise No Higher Than Its Women replaces the typical portrait of the subservient and irrelevant African American Muslim woman with a far more accurate picture of their integral leadership and substantial contributions to the rise of Islam and black consciousness in the self-determination movement in the United States and beyond during the Civil Rights-Black Power era.
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