"A work of immense importance....It is an unparalleled account of the role of women in labor in the construction of the modern Lebanese state."
—Irene Gendzier, Boston University
In Militant Women of a Fragile Nation, Malek Abisaab takes a gendered approach to labor conflicts, anticolonial struggles, and citizenship in modern Lebanon. The author traces the conditions and experiences of women workers at the French Tobacco Monopoly. Challenging the prevailing assumptions about culturally inscribed roles for Middle Eastern women, the book highlights traditions of public activism and militancy among rural women that are in turn adapted to the spaces of the factory. Women employed distinct strategies involving kinship, sectarian, gender, and class ties to enhance their work conditions and social benefits. Drawing on extensive ethnographic data, the author convincingly argues that the condition of women can only be explained by exploring the shifting relationship between culture, societal arrangements, and economic settings. Abisaab’s richly detailed work illuminates the impact of class and gender in the transformation of modern Lebanon.
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Malek Abisaab is assistant professor of history at McGill University. He has published numerous articles on the subject of gender and the Middle East.
6 x 9, 304 pages, 5 b/w illustrations, notes, bibliography, index