East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2018, 187 pp, index. Paperback $29.95.
Contours of Change is a monograph that aims to elucidate the “place of women in the formation of colonial Bathurst, the evolution of women’s understanding of the importance of law in securing their rights, as well as the ways in which women utilized the new qadi court system to fight for growing rights within the domestic sphere” (xii). The book explores unpublished records of the Muslim court at Banjul and from the Gambian National Archives. The main argument holds that colonization and its restructuring of the
Silvia Bruzzi has written a compelling work that centers on Sitti ‘Alawiyya, the granddaughter of Sayyid Muhammad Uthman al-Mirgani, founder of the Hatmiyya order. She grounds the Sitti’s story in the context of the greater history of the Hatmiyya Sufi order, the Italian colonial government of Eritrea and the relationship between the Hatmiyya and the Italians in the 1930s, in an attempt to “to reconstruct the world in which she lived” (8). In the literal center of Bruzzi’s monograph is an analysis of the gender dynamics of those relationships as captured by the history, body and carefully self-constructed image of