Yıl : 2020 Cilt : 30 Sayı : 1

Tam Metin (PDF)

Between the Secular and the Islamic: An Arab American Woman’s Journey to Negotiate Feminist Identity in Mohja Kahf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf

Open Access


The hybrid belonging of Arab American women, particularly Muslims, makes their feminism a complex notion. Being in the USA gives Arab American female authors the opportunity, through various literary genres such as poetry, fiction, and memoirs, to express themselves and voice their concerns for Arab women in their homeland and/or country of residence – this is due to the necessity of collaboration to resist the gender stereotypes inflicted on Arab and Muslim women in the USA and religious and social structures in the Arab world that directly or indirectly oppress and confine them. Islamic and secular feminisms, excluding other forms of feminism such as transnational and postcolonial, are the most prominent feminist paradigms embraced by Arab women in their motherlands and host-lands to negotiate their rights and express their concerns. Taking The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf (2006) as a sample of Arab American fiction produced by Mohja Kahf, an Arab American female author whose identity entails Islamic background, this paper examines the process of negotiation that Khadra Shamy, an Arab American female protagonist, goes through to negotiate her feminist identity in both realms i.e. Mecca and Indianapolis. Stemming from Islamic and secular feminist paradigms based on perspectives of prominent feminist critics such as Margot Badran and Fatima Mernissi, I argue that Khadra, as a female diasporic figure, embraces a hybrid feminism to better understand her gender identity and effectively negotiate and claim her rights.

Anahtar Kelimeler

Arab-American   Mohja-Kahf   Islamic-feminism   secular-feminism   hybrid-feminism  

Sorumlu Yazar



  • Abou-bakr. O. (2014). Trends and direction in contemporary islamic feminist research. In J. Makdisi., N. Bayoumi & R. Sidawi (Eds.), Arab Feminisms: Gender and Equality in the Middle East (pp. 333-344). London: I.B. Tauris and Co. Ltd.
  • Ahmed-Ghosh, H. (2008). Dilemmas of Islamic and secular feminists and feminisms. Journal of International Women’s Studies. 9(3), 99-116.
  • Ali, H, A. (2015). Why Islam needs a reformation now. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Alsultany, E. (2011). Stealth Muslim. In R. Abdulhadi, A. Evelyn, & N. Naber (Eds.), Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging (pp. 307-315). New York: Syracuse University Press.
  • Amin, Q. (1992). The liberation of women and the new woman: Two documents in the history of Egyptian feminism. Cairo: The American University Press in Cairo.
  • Badran, M. (2002). Islamic feminism: What’s in a name? Al-Ahram Weekly. Retrieved from: http://weekly.ahram. org.eg/Archive/
Daha Fazla Göster


DOI 10.26650/LITERA2020-0005

Submission : 22 Oca 2020

Tam Metin (PDF)