Google full text of our books:


Soft Force:
Women in Egypt's Islamic Awakening
Ellen Anne McLarney

Winner of the 2016 JMEWS Book Award, Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies and Association of Middle East Women’s Studies

Paperback | 2015 | $27.95 | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780691158495
Hardcover | 2015 | $70.00 | £58.95 | ISBN: 9780691158488
336 pp. | 6 x 9 | 8 halftones.
Add to Shopping Cart

eBook | ISBN: 9781400866441 |
Our eBook editions are available from these online vendors

Reviews | Table of Contents
Introduction[PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:

In the decades leading up to the Arab Spring in 2011, when Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian regime was swept from power in Egypt, Muslim women took a leading role in developing a robust Islamist presence in the country’s public sphere. Soft Force examines the writings and activism of these women—including scholars, preachers, journalists, critics, actors, and public intellectuals—who envisioned an Islamic awakening in which women’s rights and the family, equality, and emancipation were at the center.

Challenging Western conceptions of Muslim women as being oppressed by Islam, Ellen McLarney shows how women used "soft force"—a women’s jihad characterized by nonviolent protest—to oppose secular dictatorship and articulate a public sphere that was both Islamic and democratic. McLarney draws on memoirs, political essays, sermons, newspaper articles, and other writings to explore how these women imagined the home and the family as sites of the free practice of religion in a climate where Islamists were under siege by the secular state. While they seem to reinforce women’s traditional roles in a male-dominated society, these Islamist writers also reoriented Islamist politics in domains coded as feminine, putting women at the very forefront in imagining an Islamic polity.

Bold and insightful, Soft Force transforms our understanding of women’s rights, women’s liberation, and women’s equality in Egypt’s Islamic revival.

Ellen McLarney is assistant professor of Arabic literature and culture at Duke University.


"Women's roles in the intellectual, organizational and political development of Islamist movements have rarely received the attention they deserve. McLarney focuses in depth on the writings of a wide array of Egyptian women involved with Islamist movements, presenting a nuanced and careful reading of their religious and political thought."--Marc Lynch,'s Monkey Cage blog

"McLarney offers a different and highly important . . . perspective, refreshingly free of the shadows of neo-orientalism."--Caron E. Gentry, Times Higher Education

"McLarney (Arabic literature and culture, Duke Univ.) provides an intellectual history of women's ideas within the Islamist movement in Egypt over the past century. . . . This work will be of interest to a wide variety of scholars in Islamic studies, women's studies, political science, and literary theory. It illuminates the essential role of women in the modern Islamist movement in a unique way."--Choice

"Through her eloquent, sophisticated and careful analysis, McLarney offers a very important but somewhat overlooked contribution to the in depth understanding of the various roles of women in the historical and current developments within the Muslim world. . . . The wealth of information in this volume makes it an important contribution to the study of Islamic revivalism, women and Islam within the context of 20th and 21st century developments in Egypt and the wider Middle East."--Katherine Ranharter, Ph.D., Journal of Global Analysis


More Endorsements

Table of Contents:

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction—The Islamic Public Sphere and the Subject of Gender: The Politics of the Personal 1
Part One: Women’s Liberation in Islam
1. The Liberation of Islamic Letters: Bint al-Shatiʾ’s Literary License 35
2. The Redemption of Women’s Liberation: Reviving Qasim Amin 70
Part Two: Gendering Islamic Subjectivities
3. Senses of Self: Niʿmat Sidqi’s Theology of Motherhood 103
4. Covering in the Public Eye: Visualizing the Inner I 143
Part Three: Politics of the Islamic Family
5. The Islamic Homeland: Iman Mustafa on Women’s Work 180
6. Soft Force: Heba Raouf Ezzat’s Politics of the Islamic Family 219
Epilogue—Fann wa-Fiṭra: Art and Instinct 255
Bibliography 271
Index 295


Subject Areas:

Shopping Cart options:

  • For ebooks:

Our eBook editions are available
from these online vendors:

  • Amazon Kindle Store
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble Nook Store
  • Kobo eBook Store
  • Many of our ebooks are available through
    library electronic resources including these platforms:

  • Books at JSTOR
  • Ebrary
  • Ebook Library
  • EBSCO Ebooks
  • MyiLibrary
  • Dawsonera (UK)

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

     Paperback : $27.95 ISBN: 9780691158495

    Add to shopping cart

     Hardcover : $70.00 ISBN: 9780691158488

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

     Hardcover  £58.95 ISBN: 9780691158488

    Add to shopping cart

     Paperback  £22.95 ISBN: 9780691158495

    Add to shopping cart
    View contents of your shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 4/20/2017

    Questions and comments to:
    Princeton University Press

    New Book E-mails
    New In Print
    PUP Blog
    Princeton APPS
    Sample Chapters
    Princeton Legacy Library
    Exam/Desk Copy
    Recent Awards
    Princeton Shorts
    Freshman Reading
    PUP Europe
    About Us
    Contact Us
    PUP Home

    Bookmark and Share 
    Send me emails
    about new books in:
    Middle Eastern Studies
    Gender Studies
    More Choices