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"Nazira Zeineddine: A Pioneer of Islamic Feminism": A Masterclass with the book's author miriam cooke

Co-hosted by IAIS and the Gender and Sexuality Research Network (GSRN)

Our session will consist of a contextualising talk by miriam, followed by discussion of the book's content, themes and methodology. We will learn about Nazira Zeineddine's life and project, as well as tensions that accompany the practice of "retrieving women's voices." As scholars, where can we find authorial voice in the absence of information about a person? For miriam this has meant engaging in the practice of 'creative non-fiction', which uses elements of fiction to bridge the gaps between the biographical data scattered throughout the author's hermeneutical text. There will be much for all of us to engage with intellectually, methodologically and politically.

Event details


The book:

In 1928, a young Lebanese woman, Nazira Zeineddine al-Halabi, wrote a book called Unveiling and Veiling, an indictment of patriarchal oppression in which she boldly stated that the veil was un-Islamic, directly challenging the teachings of "wiser" male scholars. Considered by many an attack on Islam, it rocked the Muslim world and was banned by many clerics, although it quickly went into a second edition and was translated into several languages. In this addition to Makers of the Muslim World series, miriam cooke offers an intimate portrait of the life and work of this pioneering champion of Islamic feminism.

To register:

Please email me at, with the subject "MASTERCLASS" in order to book your place - the masterclass is open to 25 participants, including staff, PGR and PGT students. We will meet in Seminar Room A in the Living Systems Institute and refreshments will be served! Prior to our session please read the full text (if possible) of Nazira Zineddine, which can be accessed as an e-book through the University of Exeter library.

About miriam:

miriam cooke is Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures emerita at Duke University. She has been a visiting professor in Tunisia, Romania, Indonesia, Qatar and Istanbul. She serves on several national and international advisory boards, including academic journals and institutions. miriam's writings have focused on the intersection of gender and war in modern Arabic literature, Arab women writers’ constructions of Islamic feminism, contemporary Syrian and Khaliji cultures, and global Muslim networks.



LSI Seminar Room A