The Art of Resistance in Islam: The Performance of Politics among Shi‘i Women in the Middle East and Beyond

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Shi‘is have experienced a long history of persecution and oppression across the Middle East. However, not much public and academic attention has been paid to the roles women play in sectarian resistance. This book examines different forms of resistance among Shi‘i women to state as well as communal and gender power structures. It provides a new approach in researching gender agency within contemporary Islamic movements expressed through language, ritual practices, art, drama, posters and banners. It particularly examines the aesthetic performance of the political on the female body through ritual practices – an aspect so far ignored in studies on women’s acts of resistance. These aesthetic formations are dynamic, performative and transnational. Shi‘i diasporic communities in Europe – in London in particular – play a central role in shaping women’s acts of transnational resistance. This book reverts centre-periphery dynamics in Middle Eastern Studies by illustrating how Shiʿa diasporas shape political and sectarian discourses in the Middle East.


Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameMiddle East Series
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Resistance, Performance, Rituals, Shia Islam, Women