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   Course Title    Women Question in Oriental Cultures
Lecturer    Irene Frolova
Institution    Tver State University
Country    Russian Federation

The main aim of the course «Women question in oriental cultures» is to attract the attention of students to the so called «eastern side» of the women question in the context of culture. I suppose, that my project will be conductive to the widening of the range of the interests of students both in the historical and cultural spheres.

It was planned as a specialized course for students of the sociological department, who are interested in gender aspect of the social and historical process, but it can be useful for the curricula of other departments, too. My revised course is officially affirmed by the dean of the department of the sociology department (Tver state university) and by the Center of Women History and Gender Studies.

Subjects, that demand the reading of rare literature or books in English will be elucidated in my lectures. I plan seminars and discussions too, especially on the topics which are provided with texts in Russian.

When preparing this cycle of lectures, I will adhere to the historical and functional methods of research.


  1. From matriarchy to patriarchy ( Myths about women’s role in the
    Universe; ancient customs and control of marriage relations on a
    transition phase; traces of matriarchy in the pre-islamic period of
    Arab society on the materials of linguistic and anthropological in-

  1. Hierarchical relations in the traditional oriental family.

  2. Typical model of the Chinese family.

  3. Nationalities of China and structures of their family organization (Achang, Bai, Dai, Hakka, Yan etc.).

  4. Woman in the medieval Islamic society.

    1. The Koran about woman.

    2. Tradition of seclusion in oriental cultures (China, Moslem world). History of yashmak.

    3. Harems, seraglio as social and cultural phenomenon.

    4. State of woman in moslem legislation

    5. Marriage contract and divorce; discrimination of women. Classification of the types of divorces in modern moslem societies.

  1. Woman and Power in Islamic societies.

    1. Women – monarchs

    2. Women – regents

  1. Oriental woman in XX century.

    1. Chinese family and women rights. New Democratic Marriage System and Marriage Law of 1950 in China and it’s meaning for woman and society.

    2. Modernization of Islam (X1X - XX cent.) and women rights.

    3. Marriage and family in the legislation of modern Arab states.


    1. Afaf Lufti al-Sayyid Marsot The Changing Arab Muslim Family.- in: Islam. The religious & political life of a world community/ ed. By Marjorie Kelly.- N.-Y.,1984.
    2. Afet Ynan The emancipation of the turkish women.- P., 1962.
    3. Bon, Ottavio The sultan’s seraglio: an intimate portrait of life in Ottoman court.- L., 1996.
    4. Clot, Andre Suleiman the Magnificent: the man, his life, his epoch. |trans. Mattew J. Reisz.- P., 1989.
    5. Yudd Ellen R. Gender & Power in Rural North China.- Standford, California, 1994.
    6. Encyclopedia of World Cultures. |volume editors Paul Friedrich and Norma Diamond.- G.K. Hall & Company.- N.-Y., vol. 6, p. 418-496/
    7. Freely, John Inside the Seraglio.- L., 1999.
    8. Glover,L. Great Queens. Famous Women Rulers of the East.- L., 1927.
    9. Goodwin, G. The private world of Ottoman women.-L., 1997.
    10. Grunnebaum G. E. Modern Islam. The search for cultural identity.- Los Angeles, 1962.
    11. Guisso R.W. and Johannesen S. (edds.) Women in China: Current Directions in historical scholarship.- Youngstawn (N.-Y.), 1981.
    12. Lichtenstaedter I. Women in the Aiym al-‘Arab. A study of female life during warfari in preislamic Arabia.- L., 1935.
    13. Lu Xun My view on chastity.- Silent China: selected writings of Lu Xun.- Oxford, 1973.
    14. Pardoe, J. The beauties of the Bosphorus.- L. 1839.
    15. Peirce, Leslie P. The imperial harem: woman and sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire.- N.-Y., 1993.
    16. Spaces of Their Own. Women’s public sphere in transnational China. Public world, v.4 / ed. Mayfair Mei- Dui Yang University of Minnesota press, Minneapolis, L., 1999.
    17. Stern, G.H. Marriage in early Islam.- L.,1919.
    18. Wolf, M. And Witker (eds.) Women in Chinese Society.- Stanford, 1975.
    19. Women in the Muslim world / ed. By L.Beck , N. Keddie.- L., 1978.


    1. Arkoun, Mohammed Rethinking Islam. Common question, uncommon answers / ed. And trans. By Robert D. Lee.- S.-Franc., Oxford, 1994.
    2. Akbar S. Ahmed Discovering Islam.- L., N.-Y., 1988.
    3. Garnett L.M.Y. The women of Turkey and their folklore.- L., 1890- 1891, v.2.
    4. Gtrnet J. China and Christian impact.- Cambridge, 1985.
    5. Haslip, J. The sultan: the life of Abdul Hamit 11- L., 1958.
    6. Hitti, Ph. History of the Arabs.- L., 1946.
    7. Lane, E.W. Manners and customs of the modern Egyptians.- L., 1908.
    8. Melek Hanim (Malik- Khanam) Thirty years in the harem.- L., Chapman and Hall, 1872.
    9. Pardoe, J. The city of the Sultans and domesnic manners of the turks in 1836.- L., 1837.
    10. Searce, J.M. Women’s costume of the Near and Middle East/- L., Unwin Hyman, 1987.


The main purpose of this project is to investigate the state of woman in the context of development of two types of the eastern cultures - Islamic and Chinese.

Despite the difference of religions, these cultures have many traits of similarity in their style of life, ritual and in the woman-question. Genesis of the family relations, on my point of view, reflects the main social and economical changes in Culture. I would like to develop my course in this direction.

I would also like to teach about a book of a Turkish woman – the researcher Bahrie Ucok. However, I need more information on this topic. It is clear, that I have not enough literature on modern women movement in China and Arab states. I hope to fill in the gaps in my knowledge.

The cycle of my lectures I decided to prepare for students of Tver university (department of sociology) was created bearing in mind their interest and requests. I am sure that my course will be a great help not only in the grasp of the history of Cultures, but it will help to comprehend a role of many cultural factors (religious, political and economical) in the forming of women rights.

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