From a rationale of multiculturalism and a based on systemic approach grounded in the Arab-Islamic tradition, this book integrates history, education, science, and feminism to understand the implications of culture in social change, cultural identity, and cultural exchange. Dr. Belhachmi’s praxis maintains the relationship between socio-political movements, and their corollary scientific movements to explain women’s role in social change of the Arab-Islamic world; thus linking the region’s past and the present in a historical continuum. In one masterful move, she immediately engages into a discovery -journey of the 13 century old Arab-Islamic socio-cultural and intellectual history; thus exploring the independent Arab-Islamic Worldview of development, modernism, science, education, and discusses the corollary socio-political and reform movements that integrated women in the region’s governance over time. Thus, she not only highlights women’s involvement in social change as a recurrent cyclical phenomenon in the region, but also chronicles the women-led independent 120 years of Arab-Islamic feminist science.
Above all, Dr. Belhachmi offers an innovative operational three-levelled model of analysis of education and feminist practice that reconciles particularism and universalism, and yields to systemic analyses of women in education cross-culturally. In doing so, the book shifts focus from the “woman’s question” into the more radical issues of “women’s science” in the Arab-Islamic culture; illustrating with the work of al-Sa'dawi (Egypt) and Mernissi (Morocco). As such this study is both a groundbreaking epistemological study on the role Arab-Muslim women and social change over time, and an essential textbook on women in contemporary Arab-Islamic education, and social sciences.
In a tour de force, Dr. Belhachmi reclaims Arab-Islamic feminist scientific legacy as organic to the region’s institutional memory and its collective cultural reference, while restoring to Arab-Muslim women feminists; including herself, their epistemic space within the contemporary multi-discursive practice/space of international feminism.; thus offering us a timely pioneering book on Arab-Islamic feminist epistemology. Equally, she provides us with a new scientific framework for self-representation and cultural exchange much needed both in international education and “a new feminist international order.”
In brief, this is an original scholarly work that provides us with creative empowerment methods, qualitative methodologies and holistic conceptual tools; thus enabling us to re-think our “rapport to knowledge” and the place of knowledge itself and how its related research strategies can move us beyond the pitfalls of cultural relativism and scientism. As such, this is an invaluable addition to the literature on the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) that will benefit the layman tremendously; and a must reference for specialists and students alike.