Gendered Lives in the Western Indian Ocean

9780821421864: Hardback
Release Date: 21st October 2015

9780821421871: Paperback
Release Date: 21st October 2015

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 400

Edition: 1st Edition

Series Indian Ocean Studies Series

Ohio University Press

Gendered Lives in the Western Indian Ocean

Islam, Marriage, and Sexuality on the Swahili Coast

A breakthrough study of the underexamined lived experience of Islam, sexuality, and gender on the Swahili coast.
Hardback / £74.00
Paperback / £27.99

Muslim communities throughout the Indian Ocean have long questioned what it means to be a “good Muslim.” Much recent scholarship on Islam in the Indian Ocean considers debates among Muslims about authenticity, authority, and propriety. Despite the centrality of this topic within studies of Indian Ocean, African, and other Muslim communities, little of the existing scholarship has addressed such debates in relation to women, gender, or sexuality. Yet women are deeply involved with ideas about what it means to be a “good Muslim.”

In Gendered Lives in the Western Indian Ocean, anthropologists, historians, linguists, and gender studies scholars examine Islam, sexuality, gender, and marriage on the Swahili coast and elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. The book examines diverse sites of empowerment, contradiction, and resistance affecting cultural norms, Islam and ideas of Islamic authenticity, gender expectations, ideologies of modernity, and British education. The book’s attention to both masculinity and femininity, broad examination of the transnational space of the Swahili coast, and inclusion of research on non-Swahili groups on the East African coast makes it a unique and indispensable resource.

Contributors: Nadine Beckmann, Pat Caplan, Corrie Decker, Rebecca Gearhart, Linda Giles, Meghan Halley, Susan Hirsch, Susi Keefe, Kjersti Larsen, Elisabeth McMahon, Erin Stiles, and Katrina Daly Thompson

  • Glossary
  • Introduction
    Katrina Daly Thompson and Erin Stiles
  • Part One: Historical Transformations of Gender, Sexuality and Marriage
  • 1: Schoolgirls and Women Teachers: Colonial Education and the Shifting Boundaries between Girls and Women in Zanzibar
    Corrie Decker
  • 2: The Value of a Marriage: Missionaries, Ex-slaves, and the Legal Debates over Marriage in Colonial Pemba Island
    Elisabeth McMahon
  • 3: Two Weddings in northern Mafia: Changes in Women’s Lives in the 1960s
    Pat Caplan
  • Part Two: Contemporary Expressions of Coastal Femininity and Womanhood
  • 4: Pleasure and Danger: Muslim Views on Sex and Gender in Zanzibar
    Nadine Beckmann
  • 5: Sex and School on the Southern Swahili Coast: Adolescent Sexuality in the Context of Expanding Education in Rural Mtwara, Tanzania
    Meghan Halley
  • 6: Learning to use Swahili Profanity and Sacred Speech: The Embodied Socialization of a Muslim Bride in Zanzibar Town
    Katrina Daly Thompson
  • 7: Pleasure and Prohibitions: Reflections on Gender, Knowledge and Sexuality in Zanzibar Town
    Kjersti Larsen
  • Part Three: Defining Masculinity in Ritual and Marriage
  • 8: Unsuitable Husbands: Allegations of Impotence in Zanzibari Divorce Suits
    Erin Stiles
  • 9: Forming and Performing Swahili Manhood: Wedding Rituals of a Lamu Town Groom
    Rebecca Gearhart
  • 10: Spirit Possession and Masculinity in Swahili Society
    Linda Giles
  • 11: Being “A Good Muslim Man”: Modern Aspirations and Polygynous Intentions in a Swahili Muslim Village
    Susi Keefe
  • Afterword
    Susan Hirsch
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Erin E. Stiles is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she chairs the minor program in religious studies. Her research interests include Islam and law in East Africa.

Katrina Daly Thompson is associate professor in the Department of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She specializes in African languages and identities, with a focus on ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
Susan F. Hirsch is professor and the Vernon M. and Minnie I. Lynch Chair at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. She is the author of Pronouncing and Persevering: Gender and Discourse in an African Islamic Court, In the Moment of Greatest Calamity: Terrorism, Grief, and a Victim’s Quest for Justice, and Mountaintop Mining in Appalachia: Understanding Stakeholders and Change in Environmental Conflict.