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Biography of Fatima MERNISSI

Morocco > Literature : Fatima MERNISSI

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Biography :

Fatima Mernissi (b. in 1940) , is a Morrocan sociologist, feminist and writer.

Born in Fez (Morocco) in 1940, Fatema Mernissi studied political sciences at the University of Rabat, the Sorbonne in Paris and Brandeis University (Massachusetts). She published several books on the position of women in the rapidly changing Muslim communities in Morocco. Raised in the harem of a well-to-do businessman in Fez, she had the possibility to describe this institution from the inside.

In 1975 she published the result of her first fieldwork: Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society. In 1985/87 a revised edition followed in which she added an extensive consideration on the social changes that had taken place since her first investigation.

Already in her first books she expressly spoke for the emancipation of women. Since then most of her work was originally published in English or French. It has been translated in many languages and is widely read, also in Islamic countries. In the 80s of the last century she directed sociological research for UNESCO, ILO and UNFPA (Population Fund). This resulted in a book with selected interviews: Doing daily battle, 1988 (Le Maroc raconté par ses femmes, 1983).

In the mid 90s Fatema Mernissi stopped working on women's issues and switched to civil society as her major topic. She has served as a member in many national, pan-Arabic and international forums on women and development in the Islamic world. Presently she is Lecturer of Sociology at the Mohammed V University of Rabat, and Research Scholar at the University Institute of Scientific Research.

In May 2003 Fatema Mernissi received the Príncipe de Asturias Award for Letters.

Select bibliography:

    * Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society, 1975 (rev. 1987)
    * Le Maroc raconté par ses femmes, 1983
    * L'amour dans les pays musulmans, 1984
    * Femmes du Gharb, 1985
    * Le harem politique, 1987
    * Shahrazad n'est pas marocaine, 1988 (rev. 1992)
    * Sultanes oubliées, 1990
    * La Peur-Modernité, 1992
    * Women's Rebellion and Islamic Memory, 1993
    * Dreams of Trespass. Tales of a Harem Girlhood, 1994
    * Les Aït-Débrouille, 1997
    * Etes-vous vacciné contre le Harem?, 1998
    * Scheherazade Goes West, 2001

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Last update : 08/08/2008

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