Off to Work At Home: Egyptian Midwives Blur Public-Private Boundaries

Off to Work At Home: Egyptian Midwives Blur Public-Private Boundaries © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156920808X381649 Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World 6 (2008) 254–283 www.brill.nl/hawwa Off to Work At Home: Egyptian Midwives Blur Public-Private Boundaries Hibba Abugideiri Villanova University 1 hibba.abugideiri@villanova.edu Abstract Th is article uncovers the invaluable work of midwives as medical professionals in late nine- teenth- and early twentieth-century Egyptian society. It challenges the public-private dis- tinction as a way of demonstrating its obscuring eff ect on measuring Arab women’s participation in society. In fact, relying on this conceptualization of space, and by implica- tion, gendered power, can lead to a misleading conclusion. Because Egyptian midwives participated publicly in society, they consequently were unshackled from those social and cultural forces that otherwise segregated them to the private confi nes of the home. By chal- lenging this construct, this study interrogates what societal participation means to the study of Middle Eastern gender. More specifi cally, the process of medical modernization in colonial Egypt provides an ideal case study to argue that by becoming modern working women whose profession brought them out into the public in order to work at home, midwives’ participation in Egyptian society blurred any neat demarcation http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hawwa Brill

Off to Work At Home: Egyptian Midwives Blur Public-Private Boundaries

Hawwa, Volume 6 (3): 254 – Jan 1, 2008

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1569-2078
eISSN
1569-2086
D.O.I.
10.1163/156920808X381649
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2008 DOI: 10.1163/156920808X381649 Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World 6 (2008) 254–283 www.brill.nl/hawwa Off to Work At Home: Egyptian Midwives Blur Public-Private Boundaries Hibba Abugideiri Villanova University 1 hibba.abugideiri@villanova.edu Abstract Th is article uncovers the invaluable work of midwives as medical professionals in late nine- teenth- and early twentieth-century Egyptian society. It challenges the public-private dis- tinction as a way of demonstrating its obscuring eff ect on measuring Arab women’s participation in society. In fact, relying on this conceptualization of space, and by implica- tion, gendered power, can lead to a misleading conclusion. Because Egyptian midwives participated publicly in society, they consequently were unshackled from those social and cultural forces that otherwise segregated them to the private confi nes of the home. By chal- lenging this construct, this study interrogates what societal participation means to the study of Middle Eastern gender. More specifi cally, the process of medical modernization in colonial Egypt provides an ideal case study to argue that by becoming modern working women whose profession brought them out into the public in order to work at home, midwives’ participation in Egyptian society blurred any neat demarcation

Journal

HawwaBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2008

Keywords: DOCTORS; COLONIAL MEDICINE; GENDER RELATIONS; EDUCATION; MIDWIVES; EGYPTIAN NATIONALISM

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