Epistemic Authority of Women in the Medieval Middle East

In: Hawwa
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  • 1 1Harvard University, Email: aragab@fas.harvard.edu


The article is formed of two parts. In the first part, it addresses a methodological concern related to the usage of Muslim religious texts as sources for analyzing the history of women in the Middle East. In the second part, the article engages the epistemic authority of women in the medieval Middle East through the analysis of the way such authority was constructed in bibliographical dictionaries and necrologies. The article argues that women enjoyed circumstantial epistemic authority and that the legitimization of this authority usually involved a complicated socio-cultural process involving the presence of qualifying reasons and corroborating empirical evidence.

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