Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Language: Use by Women: North Africa
(1,359 words)

Women are incontestably masters of verbal art in North Africa. Numerous studies point to the strong feminine aesthetic in verbal genres such as storytelling, poetic improvisation, oratory, and song. Although men often own the copyright, both literally and symbolically, to verbal genres in the public sphere (such as song lyrics, for example), even these genres may be imbued with a feminine aesthetic.

Gender and genre are inextricably linked. Among the Awlad Ali Beduin in Egypt, for example, women compose poems with and for each other that both speak to thei…

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Kapchan, Deborah , “Language: Use by Women: North Africa”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 21 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0607c>
First published online: 2009

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