In Medicines of the Soul, the autobiographical writings of three leading women in today's Islamic revival movement reveal dramatic stories of religious transformation. As interpreted by Fedwa Malti-Douglas, the autobiographies provide a powerful, groundbreaking portrayal of gender, religion, and discourses of the body in Arabo-Islamic culture. At the center of each story is a lively female Islamic spirituality that questions secular hierarchies while reaffirming patriarchal ones.
Fedwa Malti-Douglas is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington. Among her previous publications are Woman's Body, Woman's Word: Gender and Discourse in Arabo-Islamic Writing (1991), Men, Women, and God(s): Nawal El Saadawi and Arab Feminist Poetics (California, 1995), and a novel, Hisland: Adventures in Ac-Ac-Ademe (1998). Her most recent book is The Starr Report Disrobed (2000).
"Fedwa Malti-Douglas . . . crosses linguistic, cultural, national, and religious frontiers; she gives consistency to an Islamic revival differentiated from Islamic fundamentalism, challenging methods, programs, problematisations of social, and political sciences applied to the study of the contemporary Islamic textual corpus. It is a needed contribution to the interpretation of the born-again phenomenon as expressed by female figures emerging from Islamic context where so far women are subjects talked about more than the subjects talking."—Mohammed Arkoun, editor of Arabica
"The author's voice is nuanced by her wide knowledge of Islam, of feminism, and of life. One comes to know these women well, and to care about them. I was often deeply moved, and I was also often moved to laughter by the zany Marx Brothers—like collisions between the registers of East and West, or medicine and religion, or just between the wits of these gutsy, self-aware women and the flat-footed male establishment."—Wendy Doniger, author of The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade
"A remarkable book. Combining textual analysis and biography Fedwa Malti-Douglas opens new vistas in understanding Islamist women and gender relations in contemporary Islam."—John L. Esposito, University Professor, Georgetown University