Arab Feminism and Islamic History
The Transnational Life and Work of Lebanese-Syrian Writer Widad Sakakini (1913–1991)
Widad Sakakiniʼs work reflects the transformations of Arab societies since the beginning of the twentieth century, particularly the changing gender roles. This study of her shows how she took globally circulating feminist concerns, translated them into her local contexts, and rooted them in Arab-Islamic history through her essays, short stories, and biographies. As an "Arab feminist," being both a feminist and a Muslima went together well for her. By navigating between liberal, socialist, nationalist, and Islamist peer groups, she simultaneously negotiated her own multiple forms of belonging. Taking her life as an example of a transnational biography, this study further argues that it would be unsatisfactory to reduce her complex affiliations and trajectory, spanning Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt, to a mere Islamic, secular or Syrian identity. Rather, she was concerned with balancing and reconciling supposed opposites, such as East and West, reason and spirituality, men and women.