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EWIC Reviews- Young Vol. 2

Reviewed By: Courtney L. Young
Review of Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures: Vol. 2: Family, Law and Politics and Volume 3: Family, Body, Sexuality, and Health.
Published by: American Reference Books Annual (2006)

The second volume in this 6 volume series, with volume 6 serving as the cumulative index, focuses on family, law, and politics (see ARBA 2005, entry 870, for a review of volume 1). “Family, Law, and Politics” serves to “bring together the core materials of state functioning, especially through law, in relation to family” (p. xxvii). The volume is arranged topically. The 11 sections focus on law-related subheadings, including law enforcement, articulation of Islamic and non-Islamic systems, and access to the legal system. The nine sections focus on political social movements subheadings. The volume also includes a section on women’s studies programs in Muslim countries, which includes three entries. Most sections offer an overview followed by entries by geographic region for that topic. The general editor acknowledges the geographic gaps and inconsistencies across the sections. While representative scholarship is not available for all regions, this volume does a great job of facilitating access and understanding on the subject in a useful way. Each of the 360 entries are signed and followed by a bibliography. The international contributors and scholarship they cite provides balance to the entries. A name index and subject index are also included, adding to its ease of use.

The third volume focuses on family, body, sexuality, and health. This volume presents 196 articles that discuss such issues as aging, breastfeeding, celibacy, courtship, genital cutting, HIV and AIDS, reproduction, incest, sexual harassment, suicide, and virginity. The editors admit that this appears to be a disparate grouping of topics; however, they pull together the topics by defining the body as “at once a biological entity and a product of cultures, of specific context, and of the genealogies of knowledge which constitute local understandings of the body, its capacities, purposes, possibilities, regulations, and limitations” (p. xxi). The entries are well written and accessible for all levels of users. This series is recommended for all collections.—Courtney L. Young


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