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Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger

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Engaging Modernity is Ousseina Alidou’s rich and compelling portrait of Muslim women in Niger as they confront the challenges and opportunities of the twentieth century. Contrary to Western stereotypes of passive subordination, these women are taking control of their own lives and resisting domination from indigenous traditions, westernization, and Islam alike.     Based on Engaging Modernity is Ousseina Alidou’s rich and compelling portrait of Muslim women in Niger as they confront the challenges and opportunities of the twentieth century. Contrary to Western stereotypes of passive subordination, these women are taking control of their own lives and resisting domination from indigenous traditions, westernization, and Islam alike.     Based on thorough scholarly research and extensive fieldwork—including a wealth of interviews—Alidou’s work offers insights into the meaning of modernity for Muslim women in Niger. Mixing biography with sociological data, social theory and linguistic analysis, this is a multilayered vision of political Islam, education, popular culture, and war and its aftermath. A gripping look at one of the Muslim world’s most powerful untold stories. Runner-up for the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association


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Engaging Modernity is Ousseina Alidou’s rich and compelling portrait of Muslim women in Niger as they confront the challenges and opportunities of the twentieth century. Contrary to Western stereotypes of passive subordination, these women are taking control of their own lives and resisting domination from indigenous traditions, westernization, and Islam alike.     Based on Engaging Modernity is Ousseina Alidou’s rich and compelling portrait of Muslim women in Niger as they confront the challenges and opportunities of the twentieth century. Contrary to Western stereotypes of passive subordination, these women are taking control of their own lives and resisting domination from indigenous traditions, westernization, and Islam alike.     Based on thorough scholarly research and extensive fieldwork—including a wealth of interviews—Alidou’s work offers insights into the meaning of modernity for Muslim women in Niger. Mixing biography with sociological data, social theory and linguistic analysis, this is a multilayered vision of political Islam, education, popular culture, and war and its aftermath. A gripping look at one of the Muslim world’s most powerful untold stories. Runner-up for the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association

16 review for Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger

  1. 5 out of 5

    AlixLogan

    I thought that this book was an excellent scholarly work on Nigerien women's autonomy and social presence as evaluated by language and occupation. The author is particularly interested in individual women speaking multiple languages and using this to empower themselves through literacy, often facilitated by teaching the Qur'an. There is a focus on public voice such as female radio personalities and performers. I didn't give this 5 stars because I thought that the examples of strong, independent I thought that this book was an excellent scholarly work on Nigerien women's autonomy and social presence as evaluated by language and occupation. The author is particularly interested in individual women speaking multiple languages and using this to empower themselves through literacy, often facilitated by teaching the Qur'an. There is a focus on public voice such as female radio personalities and performers. I didn't give this 5 stars because I thought that the examples of strong, independent women were extremely specialized and research down the line will show better results as to how these few women changed many others' lives. Also it was difficult to separate the personal romanticization of the women by the author because she herself is a native of Niger and personally admires these women who are active in the author's community. That being said I am headed to Niger in just over a month and feel much more informed about the social landscape after reading this great book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Campbell

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ayanda Xaba

  4. 4 out of 5

    Arun Menon

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zaynab

  6. 5 out of 5

    Conan

  7. 4 out of 5

    Winnie

  8. 4 out of 5

    Muslim

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann C

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jahada

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura Pelzmann

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gábor Basch

  14. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  15. 4 out of 5

    Naima

  16. 5 out of 5

    積ん読 (هالة)

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