One Foot in Heaven

Narratives on Gender and Islam in Darfur, West-Sudan


This book is based on extensive anthropological field-research in Kebkabiya, a town in Darfur, West-Sudan(1990-1995), when the Islamist government of Sudan had just come to power.
The title of the book is a conflation of two main government perspectives on the role of women. These proved to be decisive for the ways in which two classes of working women – low-class market women and highly esteemed female teachers- negotiated their identities within the Islamist moral discourse on gender. The book focuses on the biographic narratives of one woman from each class, which are analysed as part of the multi-layered context in which the woman spoke and acted – and of which the author also formed part.
Finally, the author reflects on the war in Darfur as part of a process of identities-in-construction.
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Biographical Note

Karin (C.L.A.) Willemse, Ph.D. (2001), in Social Sciences, Leiden University, is Assistant Professor of Anthropology of Africa, and of gender and Islam at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She has published extensively on Darfur, in particular on issues of gender. She is currently engaged in a project on Islam and identities in the public space in four towns in Africa with colleagues from Cape Town, Dakar, and Leiden.


All those interested in anthropology, gender, feminist studies, African studies, Sudan studies, studies on Darfur, methodology and analysis of biographic narratives, discourse analysis, as well as in self-reflexive studies.


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