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Muslim American CityGender and Religion in Metro Detroit$
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Alisa Perkins

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479828012

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479828012.001.0001

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Yemeni Women, Civic Purdah, and Private/Public Divides

Yemeni Women, Civic Purdah, and Private/Public Divides

(p.79) 3 Yemeni Women, Civic Purdah, and Private/Public Divides
Muslim American City

Alisa Perkins

NYU Press

This chapter analyzes how Yemeni American women’s everyday space-making practices in Hamtramck blur the lines between public and private, complicating mainstream modes of organizing space and scrambling the ideological correlates associated with these two discursive realms. The chapter discusses how Yemeni women across generations choreograph the gendering of space within homes, streets, neighborhoods, mosques, and schools, enriching their lives with social, cultural, spiritual, and economic exchanges. The chapter shows how areas in Yemeni homes, such as women’s living rooms, sometimes function as semi-public spaces open to an extended and loosely bounded set of non-kin visitors during times set apart for sociability and religious instruction. The chapter includes a discussion of how women-only spaces in mosques reproduce or echo some features of home-based gender norms. In secondary schools, Yemeni female youth sustain or modify community-based gender separation practices to establish comfortable spaces for themselves in an ethnically and racially mixed context.

Keywords:   Yemeni Americans, space-making, mosques, secondary school, Yemeni homes, sociability, religious instruction, youth, public space

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