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by Carolyn Rouse

  • ISBN: 0520237951
  • Author: Carolyn Rouse
  • ePub ver: 1806 kb
  • Fb2 ver: 1806 kb
  • Rating: 4.6 of 5
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 288
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First edition (February 20, 2004)
  • Formats: azw lrf mbr rtf
  • Category: Other
  • Subcategory: Humanities
epub Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam download

Systematically mapping African American women's lives within Islam for the first time, Rouse establishes that . ""Engaged Surrender "is an insightful ethnographic analysis of two dozen women who are members of two masjids in southern California.

Systematically mapping African American women's lives within Islam for the first time, Rouse establishes that engagement is as meaningful an ethic as liberation for black women, and black folk generally. A provocative, deeply conscientious work that will engender overdue debate in anthropology, feminist studies, black studies, and Islamic studies. -Adam Green, Assistant Professor of History and American Studies, New York University.

Home Browse Books Book details, Engaged Surrender: African American . This sharp and timely book is a pioneering contribution

Home Browse Books Book details, Engaged Surrender: African American Women and. Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam. By Carolyn Moxley Rouse. This sharp and timely book is a pioneering contribution. Systematically mapping African American women's lives within Islam for the first time, Rouse establishes that engagement is as meaningful an ethic as liberation for black women, and black folk generally. In a climate where the status of women within Islam is uncritically used as proof of women's oppression, "Engaged Surrender "reads like a breath of fresh ai. -Patricia Hill Collins, author of "Black Feminist Thought.

Carolyn Rouse sought answers to these questions among the women of Sunni Muslim mosques in Los Angeles. Her richly textured study provides rare insight into the meaning of Islam for African American women; in particular, Rouse shows how the teachings of Islam give these women a sense of power and control over interpretations of gender, family, authority, and obligations. In Engaged Surrender, Islam becomes a unique prism for clarifying the role of faith in contemporary black women's experience. University of California Press, 20 февр.

Engaged (play) - Engaged is a three act farcical comedy by W. S. Gilbert. Her father was a Methodist minister and her mother descended from Muslim slaves of Arab, Berber and African ancestry dating back to the 8th Century. Surrender (1931 film) - Surrender is a 1931 film directed by William K. Howard and starring Warner Baxter, Leila Hyams, Ralph Bellamy, C. Aubrey Smith and Alexander Kirkland.

Engaged Surrender book. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Start by marking Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Abstracting and indexing. Advertise in AJS. Print the sales sheet: American Journal of Sociology. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004. Garbi Schmidt, "Engaged Surrender: African American Women and Islam by Carolyn Moxley Rouse," American Journal of Sociology 110, no. 5 (March 2005): 1556-1557. Of all published articles, the following were the most read within the past 12 months. On the Relation Between Sociology and Ethics.

by. Carolyn Moxley Rouse. Women in Islam, Muslim women - Social conditions, Muslim women - United States - Social conditions, African American women - Religion. University of California Press.

Similar books and articles. Muslim Women Mystics: The Life and Work of Rabia and Other Women Mystics in Islam By Margaret Smith African-American Philosophers: 17 Conversations. George Yancy (e. - 1998 - Routledge. Carolyn G. Heilbrun Feminist in a Tenured Position.

Three foci in Engaged Surrender enhance discourse on African American, particularly women's, participation in Islam. First, Rouse appropriately contextualizes conversion as an epiphany or awakening in response to social conditions and reveals that, for her informants, "conversion was almost always tied to political consciousness, the desire for social change through resistance, and individual empowerment" (17). This contextualization provides a backdrop for the unique historical experiences of African Americans who shaped worship communities to address collective and individual.

Commonly portrayed in the media as holding women in strict subordination and deference to men, Islam is nonetheless attracting numerous converts among African American women. Are these women "reproducing their oppression," as it might seem? Or does their adherence to the religion suggest unsuspected subtleties and complexities in the relation of women, especially black women, to Islam? Carolyn Rouse sought answers to these questions among the women of Sunni Muslim mosques in Los Angeles. Her richly textured study provides rare insight into the meaning of Islam for African American women; in particular, Rouse shows how the teachings of Islam give these women a sense of power and control over interpretations of gender, family, authority, and obligations. In Engaged Surrender, Islam becomes a unique prism for clarifying the role of faith in contemporary black women's experience. Through these women's stories, Rouse reveals how commitment to Islam refracts complex processes―urbanization, political and social radicalization, and deindustrialization―that shape black lives generally, and black women's lives in particular. Rather than focusing on traditional (and deeply male) ideas of autonomy and supremacy, the book―and the community of women it depicts―emphasizes more holistic notions of collective obligation, personal humility, and commitment to overarching codes of conduct and belief. A much-needed corrective to media portraits of Islam and the misconceptions they engender, this engaged and engaging work offers an intimate, in-depth look into the vexed and interlocking issues of Islam, gender, and race.
Comments (6)

Very good read.
Wow! This sister is amazing and very intelligent! I really enjoy reading this book, as I am not finished yet. But, it is very interesting and among the few materials available on the subject. It surpassed expectations of what I may find in a book like this. It is hard to put down.... ha ha...
In this ethnographic study of African American women converts to the mainstream Sunni Islam in two communities in Los Angeles, California, Carolyn Moxley Rouse tries to understand what inspired these converts to make the switch and under what circumstances, as well as how they accept, interpret, and live Islamic teachings that are generally viewed as oppressive to women particularly when viewed from the Western feminist lens. Carolyn Moxley Rouse, currently an assistant professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, conducted this study as her Ph.D. thesis over the span of 10 years. The question she attempted to answer was: are those African American women reproducing their oppression? Her answer to this question is: "African American women who convert have `surrendered' to Islam-but `surrendered' in a way that engages their political consciousness and produces not only a spiritual but a social epiphany" (20). In Gender Negotiations chapter she gives evidence to how conversion to Islam has been an asset to some "to undo self-hatred" prevalent in African American communities.

The thesis of the book is: "The Muslima (Muslim sisters) accept the religiously prescribed gender roles and codes of conduct, believing that liberation emerges out of these disciplinary practices. Ultimately, the social history of black women in the United States contributes substantially to the reason why Muslima view Islam as a faith with the potential to liberate women from racism, sexism, and classism.... This book explores the lives of several women who through overt displays of their faith use their bodies as sites of resistance. These sisters challenge hegemonic discourse about race, gender, community, and faith at the level of the everyday." One of her main conclusions is that African American women's conversion to Sunni Islam cannot be described as simply "false consciousness" or full "liberation."

Rouse argues that her informants find their empowerment through the religious exegesis and authorizing discourse of Islam. Those who wear the hijab, in Rouse's study, are not only fulfilling a religious duty, but are also making statements of disagreement with the American mainstream culture, resisting Western middle-class hegemonic expectations of how a liberated American woman should look like and what she should wear. "For African Americans to socially acknowledge their Islamic faith through certain types of dress is like carrying a United States exit visa; it is a sign marking the closure of access to certain social and material rewards....[It] could be considered a form of social suicide" (8-9). This is true for everyone who publicly displays their religious, particularly Islamic, identity in the US, not just for African Americans. This is also true, and even to a greater extent, in other parts of the world where, for example, girls are expelled from public schools in France for choosing to wear the hijab.

In Chapter One, Rouse argues that African American Muslims in the communities she studied believe that "performing an Islamic identity in the United States, so to speak, may in the long run change social relations" where they can have "a more just community and society, [and] more successful interpersonal relationships" (9). I feel Rouse did not go through with this argument and did not give strong evidence to strengthen it. In fact, it seems to me that the personal lives of some of the women she interviewed are far away from having "successful interpersonal relationships" and it looks like the second generation of those converts is being co-opted/reclaimed by the American mainstream secular culture and driven back into poverty, illiteracy, and drugs.

Perhaps the strongest argument of this book is that some or most of Rouse's interviewees consider the Qur'an a feminist text and use religious exegesis (religious interpretation) to define their roles and empower themselves at a personal level, family level, and within the community. Male-centered readings of the Qur'an and Hadith, and not Islam itself, are the barriers to liberation (173). Rouse determines ambivalence, "which women attempt to reconcile through a holistic sense-making that combines exegesis, common sense, and pragmatism" as a path to empowerment. "[T]here is a layered process of identity reformulation that involves dimensions of both ambivalence and empowerment."

I believe Rouse has done Muslim women justice by letting the Muslim women themselves be heard instead of being represented by feminists, scholars, or extremists. Among the strong views that those Muslim women voiced was their belief that within the domestic sphere, gender roles are separate/different but equal and that wife's obedience to husband is conditional on husband's fulfillment of his financial responsibility. African American women converts believe that Western feminism led by white middle-class women has failed to liberate all women because social problems such as teenage pregnancies and decay of family structure have only increased. Additionally, Muslim feminists challenge Western feminist ideology of work as an empowerment for women. "[I]t is impossible to try to derive an objective universal truth about the ways in which people can or must be empowered."

Rouse's account of the four professional women who choose to perform faith, marriage, and career at the same time (in Chapter Seven) is an excellent, enlightening one that serves to balance some of the negativity surrounding women's status in Islam in the US. For example, in Zipporah's case, she is an example of an assertive Muslim woman who "believes the men are simply not ready for what she sees as Islam's radical empowerment of women" (168). In the case of Maimouna who owns a very successful law firm and who uses Islamic history to refer to "the four perfect women in Islam," Rouse says: "Far from the ideal of a wife secluded at home, Islam reaffirms for Maimouna that being a mother, wife, and professional are indeed compatible" (170).

This book displays the intersections of race, class, and gender in forming women's identities and characterizing their agency. Here, added to this mix of multiple subjectivities is the element of religion, where Islam makes those African American Muslim women a minority within a minority with a minority. Rouse says: "These women are resisting the deep structure, the internalized racism, sexism, and classism, a process I believe that is fundamental for lasting sociopolitical change" (218). In conclusion, African American Muslim women converts' surrender to Allah is accompanied by "engagement with the sources of faith, the texts, and the community."
In this book, the author, Carolyn Moxley Rouse, a USC Phd and Princeton professor and Anthropologist, tries to make sense of her Sunni Muslim experience - through a peer group of cohorts that she studies. She uses as her research subject, a group of LA Sunni female converts who live and co-exist so to speak "in the belly of the racist, sexist, classist, capitalist and apostate beast" called American society.

Her data consists of interviews, discussions and impressions these subjects made while enduring the contradictions of race, gender, and religion (among many others) as they are practiced in Los Angeles in particular, and U.S. society more generally. Altogether this project proved to be a challenge that forced the author to bypass traditional approaches and to develop her own self-fashioned wider frame of analysis, a frame that in my view is must richer, deeper and much more reliable than that normally used to understand social problems in U.S. society. It gets well beyond America's own "socially adjusted" frame of social analysis and in itself pleasantly overshadows the content of what these women had to say and the analysis of the study itself.

Wading through a dense and complex matrix of racial, gender, class, and religious subjectivities, the author examines women's identity and then characterizes the deepest basis of its agency. Here, using novel and sometimes self-fashioned tool of her trade, she probes deeply into how Muslim women resist the deep structure of internalized racism, sexism, and classism. Her comparative analysis and its processes reveal as much about the American and Christian society that these women co-exist in, as it did about the Islamic faith itself. Her central conclusion is that African American women who surrender to Sunni Islam do so as part of a generalized process of political engagement that is part and parcel to the Muslim faith. As a part of that faith, they have available to them a number of resources unavailable to women in other religions, foremost among them being a political conscience that goes hand-and-hand with their religion.

And even though I am a black male, and a "born again non-theist," her analysis, because it was so general and did not rely solely on the accepted tools of either religious analysis, or just the normal grid of traditional social science research, opened up new spaces even for me, spaces that allowed me too to re-examine in parallel many of the same bad lessons and wrong assumptions that these women experienced and too had been mis-taught, mis-applied, and thus mis-learned in the normal course of being a socially adjusted non-white American, swimming in the "ways of America's racist, sexist, and classist culture."

So, here in a pleasant surprise, is an unexpectedly superior deep, robust analysis of an American cultural and social problem. In it the author adds the most valuable and most indispensable tool of all to her repertoire of tools for social analysis: Anthropology. Since in my own work, I too had often contemplated adding anthropology to my frame for a wider analysis of American racism, it must be said, that at the very minimum, Anthropology, when applied against a backdrop of postmodern critiquing and theorizing as is done here, makes for a sometimes interesting and convincing but always informative read about American society and its cultural problems.

Her purpose was to better understand how African American women who convert to Islam make sense of their new religious experiences - that is, while it is taking place within a more or less hostile and alien society. To do this credibly and successfully, the author fashioned a new vocabulary and opened up a whole new space for understanding problems of women in particular, as well as for a better understanding of American social problems, more generally. And within this wider space, she was able to examine, analyze and critique anew a whole range of built-in assumptions about gender, race, family, community, and relationships extant in American society.

Her analysis, which obviously parallels what she had been taught as a practicing Professor of Anthropology, contextualizes American society in ways uncommon in traditional academic analysis of American culture. As a result, its most important contribution may not have been just in opening up new spaces for understanding and interpreting the problems of recent Sunni converts in LA, both for herself and for the reader, but also in opening up new value-free non-relative avenues of analysis of American social problems more generally. And although the focus was primarily about gender and religion, the subtext unmistakably always was about how to do "clean" "unbiased" "value-free" "non-relative" societal analysis in any culture and in any social situation. This in itself, independent of the content of this study is a worthy contribution to social science research.

According to the author, the religious experience for Muslim women is that of developing a new political consciousness that just happens to grow out of a spiritual epiphany, and not the other way around as is the case in Christianity. It is one intended to deal with -- rather than explain away or rationalize as is typical in Christianity for instance -- existing social conditions. As she points it, this is not unlike the way religion came about among black slaves in America: as a self-made community institution designed to address survival needs and concerns.

However, what followed in the case of American slavery, was that the black religious project was brutally derailed and quickly commandeered and turned into a political container by slave masters to be misused as but another project to further bind the slaves (morally and spiritually) to the master's grand design of continued exploitation and racial subordination. Arguably, because of the single missing element of "political consciousness," not even a vestige of empowerment, personal or communal politicization managed to survive the horrors of slavery - not to mention survival of an intact political consciousness among Americanized blacks.

Here the author underscores the role "resistance consciousness" plays in defining the pivotal concepts in Sunni religion, concepts such as freedom, patrimony, empowerment, family, community and the very act of "engaging one's faith." One conclusion that I drew from this part of the analysis is that even when properly contextualized, it makes little sense to compare these notions across religions, that is to say, to compare Western usage with similar concepts used in Islamic religions. To do so is a non-starter.

The blind religious obedience followed as normal practice in Christianity, without the right to engage religion at the level of political consciousness (the present debate among women within the Catholic church is a perfect case in point), this author would surely conclude, is worse than slavery itself, as it leaves not even a psychological basis for empowerment.

Since the Muslim religion is "process oriented" rather than "outcome oriented," sustained engagement takes priority over discrete outcomes. In Sunni Moslem religions, for the most part, I got the impression that things remain fluid and always on the negotiating table subject to new understandings, new edicts, new rulings and improvements. The Christian notions of freedom, family, patrimony, community, etc., on the other hand, are outcome oriented which is to say they remain tied down once and for all in doctrinal orthodoxy. While being process oriented in the Muslim religion means, at least in principle, they remain forever open-ended. This is such a fundamental difference that to speak of these ideas across religions as if they were they same concepts is almost to be meaningless.

As but one example of how the differences between process oriented and outcome-oriented results get played out in Christianity and Islam, the author uses the example of the biblical story of Ham.

The reader may recall that In Christianity, this story, an allegory actually, is lifted out of its biblical context and put on the political table to do the heavy lifting for the emerging institution of racism. It is used as a "political ram-rod, a generalized justification," hiding under the cloak of profound religious teachings, to justify condemning blacks forever as social and moral inferiors. In the Muslim interpretation of this same story, it is readily seen for what it is: a transparent attempt by Christians to neuter African Americans in an effort to make them passive to their own oppression. And clearly, for the most part, and for at least half a millennium, this Christian ruse apparently has worked to perfection.

The larger point is that in Christianity, political consciousness is reserved exclusively for the ruling hierarchy while spiritual consciousness is reserved exclusively for the lower rungs on the same hierarchy, i.e., for the subordinate classes. The rulers of course, as they do with respect to political doctrines and policies, also make up the religious doctrine and rules that the subordinate classes are bound by religious orthodoxy to follow. In order to square the difference between the dictates from "on high" by the religious hierarchy, and their own beliefs, run-of-the-mill Christians are thus forced to adopt a "false consciousness" to go along with their religious teachings. It is this "false consciousness" that does all of the heavy lifting in the background of Christianity, serving as a shield for those in the upper echelon of the religious hierarchy.

Not so for Muslims. which has a more flat equalitarian structure. Muslims thus are allowed to "engage" the process at the "political consciousness level" from the outset. And while because of the way all religions are structured, this may be a detail with out a difference, i.e., a difference in principle only, and thus at the level of action it may seem academic. Despite this, it is nevertheless true that even in principle having a non-hierarchical religion that can be engaged from the start at the level of political consciousness versus a hierarchical one where this possibility is precluded, is no small difference, no matter what the eventual outcomes may be. Five Stars
This book is written by a known radical and supporter of Islam and it's actions. She is only in the Anthropology Dept. at Princeton as a Professor of African Studies. The book is another diatribe on the evil white man and how the entire world needs to be under Shariya Law and Muslim edict. Don't waste your money or time.
Several other reviews summarize and discuss the content of this important book. Though published in 2004, the book remains important for all those who wish to understand the meaning and functions of gender, sacred texts, race, and locality in the making of Africana religions and Islam in America. It is also essential for anyone attempting to understand the late Imam W. D. Mohammed's community.

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