"A magnificent volume! It offers brand new perspectives on body politics and identity or subjectivity formation in the post-colonial world." -- Dorothy Ko, Barnard College While there is widespread interest in dress and hygiene as vehicles of cultural, moral, and political value, little scholarly attention has been paid to cross-cultural understandings of dirt and undress, despite their equally important role in the fashioning of identity and difference. The essays in this absorbing and thought-provoking collection contribute new insights into the neglected topics of bodily treatments and transgressions. In detailed ethnographic studies from around the world, the contributors recast assumptions about filth and nakedness, exploring how various forms of transgression associated with the body's surface are drawn up into relations of power and inequality. They demonstrate imaginatively how body surfaces are powerfully mobilized in the making and unmaking of moral worlds.
The contributors to this volume--who draw from a variety of disciplines--show how the study of Muslim youth at this particular historical juncture is relevant to thinking about the anthropology of youth, the anthropology of Islamic and Muslim societies, and the post-9/11 world more generally.
In the small town of Dogondoutchi, Niger, Malam Awal, a charismatic Sufi preacher, was recruited by local Muslim leaders to denounce the practices of reformist Muslims. Malam Awal's message has been viewed as a mixed blessing by Muslim women who have seen new definitions of Islam and Muslim practice impact their place and role in society. This study follows the career of Malam Awal and documents the engagement of women in the religious debates that are refashioning their everyday lives. Adeline Masquelier reveals how these women have had to define Islam on their own terms, especially as a practice that governs education, participation in prayer, domestic activities, wedding customs, and who wears the veil and how. Masquelier's richly detailed narrative presents new understandings of what it means to be a Muslim woman in Africa today.