Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?

For Cultural Anthropology 2018-2019, we read the Lila Abu-Lughod article “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?” This article was first published in 2002. Abu-Lughod later expanded on the theme to write a similarly titled book, Do Muslim Women Need Saving? published in 2013.

The article was re-published in a Reader for a Global Age which I used for Cultural Anthropology 2019. For student comments, I focused on a question Guest posed at the end of the reading (57): “Why does Abu-Lughod suggest that cultural relativism is not adequate in approaching cultural diversity? What alternative approaches does she suggest?” I suggested comparing Abu-Lughod with the cultural relativism of Horace Miner’s “Body Ritual among the Nacirema.”

It remains difficult to tackle the culture and cultural relativism issues raised in “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?” I discussed using Abu-Lughod’s book in my 2015 Intro-to-Anthropology course.

For my latest attempt, here is a 2021 version trying to explain the difference between Culture and cultureS for Intro-to-Anthropology:

Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, follow on Twitter, watch on YouTube, or subscribe to e-mail list.

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