Biology and ‘Created Nature’: Gender and the Body in Popular Islamic Literature from Modern Turkey and the West

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2005-04-01
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Edis, Taner
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Bix, Amy
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The Department of History seeks to provide students with a knowledge of historical themes and events, an understanding of past cultures and social organizations, and also knowledge of how the past pertains to the present.

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The Department of History was formed in 1969 from the division of the Department of History, Government, and Philosophy.

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A common theme in today's popular Islamic literature is defending traditional gender roles against forces of change. When addressing audiences who are strongly influenced by Western modernity, such as in Turkey and some immigrant populations in the industrialized West, this literature often justifies its pronouncements by invoking the apparent authority of science, especially biology. Authors paint a sharp dichotomy between men and women in body, mind, behavior, and character, asserting that such differences are inherent and immutable. In assuming masculine biological superiority, such writings sometimes end up offering a quasi-Aristotelian notion of the body, echoing theories of anatomy and physiology dating back to the medical and biological treatises of ancient Greece. Casting women as universally predisposed, physically and psychologically, toward emotionality, weakness, domesticity, and motherhood, these authors define the nature of "the body" in such ways as to counter more liberal notions.

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This is an article from Arab Studies Journal 13 (2005): 140. Posted with permission.

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Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2005
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