Browse Online

Need to find a book, journal articles or more (either a particular title or on a topic) at Cornell and beyond? Search the Library Discovery Tool [online catalog]. Search most Cornell resources at once using the main search box (or search or browse specific resources more directly using the links under the box). Catalog Articles & Full Text * Databases * E-Journal Titles  *Images

Start by searching the catalog by keyword. Use whatever terms you think best describe your topic. When you find a record that matches what you are looking for, view the record and see what subject headings were used. Then search again using that term as a subject search.

Keyword & Subject Searching

Sample Keywords: "Middle East" or Islam or Arab* + / women / gender"Muslim women""women in Islam" / history / sex roles.

Using LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) to search for resources will, more often than not, yield the most relevant results.  Below are some LCSH you can use to search.  Be sure to choose the SUBJECT search field from the drop-down list (in Advanced Search) or include the search terms in quotation marks in the Basic Search box. Enter the SUBJECT search terms exactly as you see them. (If subject is a name, last name first. For topical subject headings, elements must be in exact order).

Sample Subject Headings: WOMEN in Islam / WOMEN (Islamic law) / MUSLIM women--Legal status, laws, etc. / ISLAM & gender / ISLAM--Customs &  practices / FEMINISM & Islam. [subject + country (women - Lebanon), etc.].

"Baya" Fatima Haddad, Algerian artist

(@GoogleArabia,December 12, 2018)

General Reference & Background Information

Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (ONLINE)
Ed. Suad Joseph. 6 volumes. Leiden: Brill, 2003-2007.
(online and Olin Reference HQ 1170 .E53 2003 +)
Volume 1. (2003): Methodologies, paradigms and sources; v. 2. (2005): Family, law and politics; v. 3. (2006): Family, body, sexuality and health; v. 4. Economics, education, mobility, and space; v. 5. Practices, interpretations and representations; v. 6. Index. A long-term, interdisciplinary project to bring together "upwards of 1,000 scholars to write critical essays on women, Muslim and non-Muslim, and Islamic cultures in every region where there have been significant Muslim populations." [Introduction].
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women's Issues Worldwide. Lynn Walter, editor-in-chief. 6 volumes. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
Image result for Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women's Issues Worldwide middle east(Olin Ref HQ 1726 .G74x 2003 +)
"[S]hould serve as a starting point for anyone doing research in the area of women and the developing world." [Guide to Reference. Editor's Guide: Gender Studies] [A]uthoritative, comprehensive, and current data on ... women's issues in more than 130 countries...." [Foreword] Essays cover education, employment and the economy, family and sexuality, health, politics and law, religion and spirituality, and violence. Volumes cover Asia & Oceania, Central and South America, Europe, North America & the Caribbean, the Middle East & North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Useful resource guides for each country list books, journal articles, and Web sites.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women
book coverCall Number: Olin Library Reference (Non-Circulating) Oversize BP173.4 .O94 2013 +
ISBN: 9780199764464
Publication Date: 2013-10-16
provides clear, current, comprehensive information on the major topics of scholarly interest within the study of Islam and women. With more than 450 articles written by leading international experts and with a concentration on contemporary issues, it is a single source for accurate overview articles covering all aspects of this flourishing area of research. Organized around the central conceptual themes in research on Islam and women including Self and Body, Immigration and Minorities, Culture and Expression, Politics and Polity, and Community and Society, as well as Science, Medicine and Education among others, this work examines the scholarship on Islam and women that has expanded exponentially over the past twenty years, as well as cross-pollination between other fields and disciplines.
Women and Islam - Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Resource LogoThis resource holds nearly 4000 entries from many   Oxford  publications, such as the Oxford Encyclopedia of  the Islamic World, Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World and The Islamic World: Past and Present. It encompasses a variety of resources including biographies, scholarly works, translated articles, essays, seminal books and speeches by influential figures of the Islamic world, translations of the Qur’an, maps and images, and teaching aids.  [For further information on how to use the Oxford Islamic Studies Online].


World of Women Film Fair LogoWorld of Women Film Fair Middle East What is WOW Middle East? WORLD OF WOMEN'S CINEMA: Presented by Straight Street Media, UAE The World of Women's Cinema - WOW Film Fair Middle East is the first women's short film fair that promotes and awards the talents of women directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers in the film industry.


Image result for Historical Dictionary of Women in the Middle East and North AfricaHistorical Dictionary of Women in the Middle East and North Africa  by Ghada Hashem Talhami

ISBN: 081087086X Publication Date: 2013-01-01



Muslim Women a Biographical DictionaryMuslim Women: A Biographical Dictionary Women throughout Islamic history from the first century A.H. to roughly the middle of the thirteenth century A.H. (Hijri).

Accessing Muslim Lives About improving the accessibility of autobiographical writings from Muslim contexts through translation and digitization so that they may be better used for teaching and learning, particularly in higher education. This internet-based collection of primary source extracts gives access to the wide array of Muslim lives – both male and female, historical and contemporary – represented in these autobiographies. The authors range from scholars, saints and socio-religious reformers to princes, bureaucrats, nationalists, educators, writers and actors. Based at Loughborough University [UK] and sponsored by the Islamic Studies Network of the Higher Education Academy.

Women’s Autobiography in Islamic Societies. About improving the accessibility of autobiographical writings from Muslim contexts through translation and digitisation so that they may be better used for teaching and learning, particularly in higher education. Through this internet-based collection of primary source extracts, students, practitioners and the general public alike are given access to the wide array of Muslim lives – both male and female, historical and contemporary – represented in these autobiographies. The authors range from scholars, saints and socio-religious reformers to princes, bureaucrats, nationalists, educators, writers and actors.

"Who is She in Egypt" is a database of distinguished Egyptian women experts. It provides Arabic and English profiles on outstanding Egyptian Women in their particular field. The database aims at raising awareness among the society that there are expert and competent Egyptian Women in all fields of life. It is designed to be a reference to organizations, researchers, activists, media practitioners and all the users who want to find an Egyptian woman expert in a particular field..."

Great women in Islamic History: a forgotten legacy - FUNCI

"The Who Is She in Lebanon is an online database with profiles of prominent contemporary Lebanese women. This project started in 2008 following a bilateral partnership between the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) at the Lebanese American University (LAU) and KVINFO, the Danish Centre for Information on Women and Gender, a grant-maintained self-governing institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture in Denmark... "

book coverBennett, Clinton Muslim Women of Power: Gender, Politics, and Culture In Islam. London: Continuum, 2010. Women leaders: Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan; Khaleda Zia and Bangladesh; Tansu Çiller and Turkey; Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh; Megawati Sukarnoputri and Indonesia; Conclusion : gender, politics and culture in Islam.



Front CoverArab women writers: a critical reference guide, 1873-1999 / By Radwa Ashour, Ferial Jabouri Ghazoul, Hasna Reda-Mekdashi (Google Books) Arab women's writing in the modern age began with 'A'isha al-Taymuriya, Warda al-Yaziji, Zaynab Fawwaz, and other nineteenth-century pioneers in Egypt and the Levant. This unique study-first published in Arabic in 2004-looks at the work of those pioneers and then traces the development of Arab women's literature through the end of the twentieth century, and also includes a meticulously researched, comprehensive bibliography of writing by Arab women.


book cover

Al-Muhaddithat: The Women Scholars in Islam. 2013 / by Mohammad Akram Nadwi (Author). Paperback, 336 pages.Published 2007 by Interface Publications

Olin Library BP136.485 .N33 2007

This book is an adaptation in English of the prefatory volume of a 40-volume biographical dictionary (in Arabic) of women scholars of the Prophet s hadith. Learned women enjoyed high public standing and authority in the formative years of Islam. For centuries thereafter, women travelled intensively for religious knowledge and routinely attended the most prestigious mosques and madrasas across the Islamic world. Typical documents (like class registers and ijazahs from women authorizing men to teach) and the glowing testimonies about their women teachers from the most revered ulema are cited in detail. An overview chapter, with accompanying maps, traces the spread of centres of hadith learning for women, and their eventual decline. The information summarized here is essential to a balanced appreciation of the role of women in Islamic society.

Women in the Middle East and North Africa: A Bibliography  Volume I (PDF)    Volume II (PDF)

Women in the Middle East and North Africa: A Bibliography. (Two volumes) [Middle East Abstracts & Index. Volume 20E(i-ii).] Revised with an updated introduction and subject-corporate-named persons index. Seattle, Wash.: Reference Corp., 2007. (Viii+776p., ii+693p.)

The area of coverage of Women in the Middle East & North Africa bibliography is: Afghanistan, 217 records; Algeria, 92 records; Bahrain, 18 records; Cyprus, 26 records; Egypt, 245 records; Iran, 143 records; Iraq: 297 records; Israel-Palestine (including the Gaza Strip and West Bank), 1333 records; Jordan, 58 records; Kuwait, 42 records; Lebanon, 84 records; Libya, 20 records; Morocco, 43 records; Oman, 27 records; Qatar, 12 records; Saudi Arabia, 69 records; Syria, 46 records; Tunisia, 20 records; Turkey, 106 records; United Arab Emirates (UAE), 28 records; Yemen, 124 records; and General Middle East and North Africa, 75 records.

Women In Islamic Societies: A Selected Review Of Social Scientific Literature. A Report Prepared by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress under an Interagency Agreement with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence/National Intelligence Council (ODNI/ADDNIA/NIC) and Central Intelligence Agency/Directorate of Science & Technology, November 2005.

The Study of Women in Islam and the West / by Y HADDAD - ‎2005. “This bibliography sets out to explore the topics that Muslim women in the West reflected on and researched as they joined the institutions of higher learning and began to have an input in the creation of knowledge. It also attempts to gather the available information about the experiences of Muslim women and surveys the available literature in English on Muslim women living in the West. While Muslim women have been professionally active in many fields, the bibliography is focused primarily on the production of knowledge by professors in the humanities and the social sciences and their contribution to our understanding of the debates about the women of Islam.”—Abstract.

Bibliography on gender relations in the thought of Sayyid Qutb

List of books and articles about Women in Islam "Discover librarian-selected research resources on Women in Islam from the Questia."

  • Index Islamicus
    • 1906-present-
      • Index Islamicus is an international bibliography of publications in European languages covering all aspects of Islam and the Muslim world, including history, beliefs, societies, cultures, languages, and literature. The database includes material published by Western orientalists, social scientists and Muslims.
  • Islamic Book Review Index Olin Library BP161.2 .I79 An annual publication which indexes reviews of books written about the Middle East. Cornell has volumes : 1-11 only (1985-1992).
  • Scholars and Scholarship on Women and Islamic Cultures - A Study of Ph.D. Dissertations: 1960–2002

book coverOttoman Harem - The Male and Female Slavery in Islamic Law = İslâm hukukunda kölelik-câriyelik müessesesi ve Osmanlı'da harem / Ahmed Akgündüz ; translater, Şükran Vahide. Hardcover – 2015.

Translation of the Turkish edition published in 1995. Part One: the distortions and misrepresentations of male and female slavery and the Harem, together with some examples. Part Two: male and female slavery in non-Muslim societies and in other religions. Part Three: the institutions of male and female slavery in Islamic law. Part Four: aspects of the practice of slavery, male and female, in the Ottoman state. Part Five: an investigation of the question: what is the Harem? Part Six: a lady governess's memoirs of the Harem. Part Seven: the replies to a number of important questions on these subjects.

"Mapping Women Writers in the Mahjar" --  StoryMap from the  Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at NC State.

Arab Women’s Biographies & Autobiographies in English.

North Africa

Amrouche, Fadhma: My life story: The autobiography of a Berber woman

Messaoudi, Khalida: Unbowed: An Algerian woman confronts Islamic Fundamentalism

Sebbar, Leila: An Algerian Childhood

Abouzeid, Leila (morocco): Return to Childhood

The Year of the Elephant (biog)

Fatima Mernissi, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1994

Colonial Histories, Post-Colonial Memories: The Legend of the Kahina, A

North African Heroine Abdelmajid Hannoum

Fatema Mernissi, a Founder of Islamic Feminism[]

*Remembering Islamic Feminist Fatema Mernissi[NPR]


Shaarawi, Huda: Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist

El Saadawi, Nawal: Memoirs from the Women's Prison (contemporary)

A Daughter of Isis, transl. Sherif Hetata

Kanafani, Fay Afaf: Nadia, Captive of Hope: Memoir of an Arab woman

Leila Ahmed: A Border Passage

Khul-Khaal: Five Egyptian Women Tell Their Stories by Nayra Atiya

Asmahan's Secrets: Woman, War and Song Sherifa Zuhur [feminist reading of the experience of a popular Egyptian singer]

Daughter of Damascas by Sirhan Tergeman, by Siham Tergaman

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of Texas

May Her Likes Be Multiplied: Biography and Gender Politics in Egypt Marilyn Booth

Daughters of the Nile: Photographs of Egyptian Women's Movements, 1900-1960 Hind Wassef and Nadia Wassef, Eds

Ancient Egyptian Dances Irena Lexova


Changed Identities: The Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia

May Yamani [published in England, 2000]

General arab

Tales Arab Women Tell and the Behavioral Patterns They Portray Hasan

M. El-Shamy.

In the House of Silence: Autobiographical Essays by Arab Women Writers, edited by Fadia Faqir

Auto/Biography and the Construction of Identity and Community in the Middle East. Mary Ann Fay, Ed.

Other/unknown region

4. there is a newish translation of Fadwa Tuqan's book Rihla Jabalia, Rihla Saaba (A Mountainous Journey, A Difficult Journey).

Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity

Herbert L. Bodman and Nayereh Tohidi, Eds.

Cosmopolitanism, Identity and Authenticity in the Middle East. Roel Meijer, Ed.

The Predicament of the Individual in the Middle East Hazim Saghie,


Najmabadi, Afsaneh. Women’s Autobiographies in Contemporary Iran (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1990) Faqir, Fadia (intro and ed.) In the House of Silence: Autobiographical Essays by Arab Women Writers (Reading: Garnet Publishing, 1998). *Moufida Tlatli, Director. Samt al-qusur/Les Silences du Palais (Tunisia, France, 1994) -- an excellent autobiographical film. *Kanafani, Fay.A. Afaf Nadia, Captive of Hope: Memoir of an Arab Woman. (Armonk, NY: The Maple Press, 1999) Serene Husseini Shahid, Jerusalem Memories, ed. Jean Said Makdisi and introduced by Edward Said (Beirut: Naufal, 2000). .). Tergeman, Sihan. Daughter of Damascus: A Memoir. ed. Andrea Rugh. University of Texas Press, 1994 (orig. publ. 1978). Raymonda Tawil (1940-, My Home, My Prison eila Khaled, My People Shall Live: The Autobiography of a Revolutionary ed. George Hajjar. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1973. cf. Abu Ayad ) Jihan Sadat, A Woman of Egypt cf. Sadat, Anwar. Revolt on the Nile cf. Sadat, Anwar. In Search of Identity Al-Sadat, Camelia. My Father and I (1985) cf. Yael Dayan Hanan M. Ashrawi, This Side of Peace: A Personal Account NY: Simon and Schuster, 1995.. Rabab Hadi, “The Feminist Behind the Spokeswoman -- A Candid Talk with Hanan Ashrawi,” Ms. 14-17 March/April 1992. Malti-Douglas, Fedwa. A Woman and Her Sufis. Georgetown University: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies Occasional Papers, 1995) on Kariman Hamza, Rihlati min al-Sufur ila al-Hijab (spiritual saga of Egyptian television personality) Malti-Douglas, Fedwa. “A Literature of Islamic Revival?: The Autobiography of Shaykh Kishk,” in Cultural Transitions: The Articulation of Religious and Secular Discourses in the Middle East, ed. Serif Mardin (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), pp. 116-129. Ghazali, Zaynab. Ayyam min hayati Cooke, Miriam. “Zaynab al-Ghazali: Saint or Subversive?” Die Welt des Islams 34 (1994) 1-20. ? Qutb, Sayyid, (1903-1966) "Milestones", an English translation by Ahmad Zaki Hammad of "Signposts along the Way," (Beirut : Holy Koran

Pub. House, 1978 (1398) JMS BP 163 Q83 1052055

El-Saadawi, Nawal. A Daughter of Isis: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi trans. Sherif Hetata (London: Zed, 1999) El Saadawi Memoirs of a Woman Doctor (Eng 1988) El Saadawi Memoirs from the Women’s Prison (Eng 1987) Malti-Douglas, Fedwa. “Nawal al-Sa’dawi and the Escape . . .,” “Nawal al-Sa’adawi and Empowerment,” Woman’s Body, Woman’s Word (Princeton,


Leila Abouzeid, Return to Childhood: The Memoir of a Moroccan Woman Liat Kozma, "Remembrance of Things Past: Leila Abouzeid and Moroccan National History" Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society 6 (Fall 1999): 388-406. *Leila Ahmed, A border passage: a woman's journey, which tells about her life in Egypt and studies and work later on. Cf. Edward Said, Latifa Zayyat, The Search: Personal Papers, trans. Sophie Bennett

(London: Quartet Books, 1996)

Hannah Davis Taieb, “The Girl Who Found Refuge in the People: The Autobiography of Latifa Zayyat,” Journal of Arabic Literature 29 (1998): 202-214. Djebar, Assia. Fantasia + Sister of Scheherazade


Mariama Ba, So long a letter/une si longue lettre

Ahmed, Leila. A Border Passage.
Abou Zeid, Leila. The Year of the Elephant.
al-Amir, Daisy. The Waiting List: An Iraqi Woman's Tales of Alienation.
Amrouche, Fadhma. My Life Story.
Attar, Samar. Lina: Portrait of a Damascene Girl.
Badr, Liana. The Eye of the Mirror.
El-Saadawi, Nawal. Memoirs from the Women's Prison.
Esfandiari, Haleh. Reconstructed Lives: Women and Iran's Islamic
*Farah, Najwa Kawar. A Continent Called Palestine.
Husseini, Serene Shahid. Jerusalem Memories.
Kanafani, Fay Afaf. Nadia: Captive of Hope.
Karmi, Ghada. In Search of Fatima.
Khaled, Leila. My People Shall Live: Autobiography of a Revolutionary.
Kordi, Gohar. An Iranian Odyssey.
Makdisi, Jean. Beirut Fragments.
Makdisi, Jean. Teta, Mother and Me.
Mernissi, Fatima. Dreams of Trespass.
Messoudi, Khalida. Unbowed: An Algerian Women Confronts Islamic
Nelson, Cynthia. Doria Shafik, Egyptian Feminist.
*Sakakini, Hala. Jerusalem and I: A Personal Record. (available on Ohiolink
but only in one library. I have a copy.)
Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis II. (The first Persepolis is not on the list
because we are already reading it in class.)
Serageldin, Samia.The Cairo House.
al-Shaykh, Hanan. The Story of Zahra.
al-Shaykh, Hanan. Beirut Blues.
Sha`rawi, Huda. Harem Years.
Soueif, Ahdaf. The Map of Love.
Tabbar, Lina Mikdadi. Survival in Beirut.
Tuqan, Fadwa. A Mountainous Journey.
*Younes, Imam Humaydan. B as in Beirut. (available on Ohiolink but only in
one library. I have a copy.)
al-Zayyat, Latifa. The Open Door.
Zuhur, Sherifa. Asmahan: Woman, War, and Song.


Written originally in English:
Fay Afaf Kanafani, Nadia, Captive of Hope: Memoir of an Arab Woman (London: ME Sharpe, 2000)
Mai Ghoussoub, Leaving Beirut: Women and the War Within (London: Saqi, 1998)
Leila Ahmed, A Border Passage: From Cairo to America – A woman’s journey (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1999).
Leila Khaled’s My People Shall Live: The Autobiography of a Revolutionary (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1973).
Fatima Mernissi, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1994). [Mernissi says this is a narrative taken from lives of others as well as her own; not strictly an autobiography]
Jean Said Maqdisi, Beirut Fragments: A War Memoir (New York: Persea Books, 1990).
Suheir Hammad, Drops of this Story (New York and London: Harlem River Press, 1996). [Arab-American poet]. Evelyne Accad, The Wounded Breast: Intimate Journeys through Cancer (North Melbourne: Spinifex, 2001).
Samia Serageldin, The Cairo House (Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 2000?).

Written originally in Arabic:
Nawal El Saadawi, A Daughter of Isis: The Autobiography of Nawal El Saadawi, trans. Sherif Hetata (London: Zed Books, 1999).
Nawal El Saadawi, Memoirs from the Women’s Prison, trans. Marilyn Booth (London: The Women’s Press, 1986, 1991; Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994).
Fadwa Tuqan, A Mountainous Journey: A Poet’s Autobiography, trans. Olive Kenny (Saint Paul: Graywolf, 1990).
Latifa al-Zayyat, The Search: Personal Papers ar. 1992
Huda Shaarawi, Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist, trans. and intro. Margot Badran (London: Virago, 1986). [memoirs of a feminist of an earlier generation]
Siham Tergeman, Daughter of Damascus, English version and Introduction by Andrea Rugh (Austin: Center for Middle East Studies, University of Texas, 1994).

See also:
Joanna Kadi, ed., Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists (Boston: South End Press, 1994).
Suad Joseph, ed., Intimate Selving in Arab Families: Gender, Self, and Identity (Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1999), Part I, “Intimate Selving as a Part of Biography and Autobiography in Arab Families.”

Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition, ed by Dwight Reynolds, Univ of California Press, either 2000 or 2001