- At the Drop of a Veil
Boston: Houghton Mifflin (1971)
- Saudi Arabia--social life and customs. "Also good...At the Drop of a Veil..." --Azar
- The Qashqai of Iran: World of Islam Festival 1976
Joan Allgrove, with Sarah Drake and Linda Coleing
London: World of Islam Festival Publ. Co. Ltd. (1976)
- "The Qashqai are a turkic-speaking transhumant (they travel twice each
year, between summer and winter grazing lands) tribe of Southwest Iran,
Fars provice. They dance with a small scarf in each hand, and flick
the scarf to the beat of the music. In my research and field work with
them, I have learned several women's dances, all to 6/8, but never a
dance called "dast-e haft dastmal" (doesn't mean there isn't one, I
just can't describe it for you). Dastmal translates more to "hanky" or
"scarf" rather than "veil". Qashqai women (like most tribal women) do
not veil themselves, though they do wear a filmy head scarf that they
decorate with large sequins depending from short strings of beads.
"For more info, I can recommend a couple books: The Qashqai of Iran,
published as part of the World of Islam Festival in 1976, in
Manchester, England. Also, there was a fine exhibit at UCLA's Fowler
Museum, maybe 15 years ago, and they published a very nice booklet
about the Qashqai. Also, Lois Beck is an anthropologist who has done
lot of research on the Qashqai tribes, and has written several books
about them. "Nomad" comes to mind." --Robyn Friend
- Sufism - Expressions of the Mystic Quest
published by Thames and Hudson
- (From medance list, courtesy of P. Walker) "...good introduction to Sufism...it contains lots of fabulous pictorial material including a photo of dervishes dancing in Konya, Turkey."
- The Essential Rumi
Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson, translator
New York: HarperCollins (1995)
ISBN: 0-06-250958-6 or 0-06-250959-4
- (From the book jacket) "Jelaluddin Rumi was born in the year 1207 and until the age of 37 was a brilliant scholar and popular teacher. But his life changed forever when he met the powerful wandering dervish, Shams of Tabriz, of whom Rumi said, 'What I had thought of before as God, I met today in a human being'. From this mysterious and esoteric friendship came a new height of spiritual enlightenment. When Shams disappeared, Rumi began his transformation from scholar to artist, and his poetry began to fly...The Essential Rumi offers the most beautiful rendering of the primary poetry of Rumi to both devoted enthusiasts and novice readers. Poems about everything from bewilderment, emptiness, and silence to flirtation, elegance, and majesty are presented with love, humor, warmth, and tenderness. Take in the words of Jelaluddin Rumi and feel yourself transported to the magical, mystical, place of a whirling, ecstatic poet." Excerpts.
- The Qashqa'i of Iran
New Haven: Yale University Press (1986)
- See the entry under Joan Allgrove, above for further description.
- Wombs and Alien Spirits:
Women, Men, and the Zar Cult in Northern Sudan
Janice Patricia Boddy
Univ. of Wisconsin Press (1989)
- Nine Parts of Desire - The Hidden World of Islamic Women
NYC: Anchor Books/Doubleday (1995)
- Brooks, a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, spent 6 years covering the Middle East; her mission in this book was to gain some understanding of Muslim women and their daily life. Well written and fascinating, in my opinion, the book covers different aspects of female islamic life in different islamic countries including one chapter on the current state of belly dancing in Egypt. "A MUST is Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks which is totally about women in the middle east..." --Azar
- Harem: The World Behind the Veil
Alev Lytle Croutier
New York: Abbeville Press (1989)
- "...about Turkish harems in previous centuries..." --Helwa "Also good..." --Azar
- The Ottoman Lady
Westport CN: Greenwood Press (1986)
- "One of my favorite sociological studies re:women in the middles east
is a book called "The Ottoman Lady" by Fanny davis (New York, 1986).
It is specific to women during the Ottoman Empire (and for some time
thereafter) and is quite thoroughly researched.
I found it at the Oregon State Univerity library -- if you can't get it
locally, try ILL." --Chesme Bulbul
- Baladi Women of Cairo: Playing With an Egg and a Stone
Evelyn A. Early
Boulder CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers (1993)
ISBN 1555872778 and 1555872689
- (From medance list, courtesy of D. Chidester) "This is a wonderful ethnography of life in Bulaq Abu 'Ala in Cairo. Early becomes involved with and discusses the lives of lower-middlle class Egyptians. 'Playing with an egg and a stone' describes how they manage to juggle all the facets of their lives. I found it to be an enjoyable read, but then, of course, I love reading ethnographies."
- Everyday Life In the Muslim Middle East
Evelyn A. Early
Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press (1993)
ISBN 0253312531 and 0253207797
- Indiana series in Arab and Islamic studies. Middle East and North Africa: social life and customs.
- Guests of the Sheik
Elizabeth Warnock Fernea
Garden City, NY: Doubleday (1965)
- Autobiographical. "It is her story of her sojourn with her
anthropologist husband in a small Iraqi village in the 1950s. A good
book, holds up well even after some 30 years." --Robyn
- Middle Eastern Women Speak
Elizabeth Warnock Fernea and Basima Qattan Bezirgan
Austin: Univ. of Texas Press (1977)
- The Arab World: Personal Encounters
Elizabeth Warnock Fernea and Robert A. Fernea
Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday (1985)
- Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey
- "The author lived for a time with a Rom family in Albania, and also
worked with/studied groups in Bulgaria, Poland the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, parts of former Yugoslavia, and Romania. She discusses
both current conditions and history of the Rom in these areas.
She does an excellent job of illuminating some of the basic ways
in which the Rom outlook on life differes from that of the
"There was a brief discussion [on a mailinglist] last fall when an excerpt of this book appeared in the "New Yorker." The book is as interesting as
the excerpt indicated it would be. It also has an extensive
bibliography, including works by Carol Silverman.
"Interesting to me, as a librarian, is the heavy demand for the book
here in the Seattle area. I'm glad to see the general public gain
some awareness of the Rom culture." --Nancy McGill
- Images of Women:
The Portrayal of Women in Photography of the Middle East 1860-1950
New York: Columbia University Press (1988)
- (From medance list) "I want to recommend [this book]. Lots of food for thought and some very good costume ideas. (Caution: be sure to read the caption and info near the photos. Some of these photos were done by westerners in studios with their own interpretation of facts.)"
- Dance, Sex and Gender: Signs of Identity, Dominance, Defiance and Desire
Judith Lynne Hanna
Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press (1988)
ISBN: 0-226-31550-9 or 0-226-31551-7
- "There is only minimal coverage of middle eastern dance, but the book covers roles of dance in society in many cultures." --Ladira
- Baghdad Without a Map and other Misadventures in Arabia
NYC: Dutton/Penguin Books (1994)
- Husband of Geraldine Brooks (see above), also a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and recent Pulitzer Prize winner; Horwitz writes about his experiences in the Middle East (having followed his wife there). Not especially about women or belly dancing (though they do come up), the book is fascinating and provides something of the flip side to his wife's book.
- Aesthetics and Ritual in the United Arab Emirates
Ph.D. Thesis: Univ. of Texas, Austin (1979)
Aesthetics and Ritual in the United Arab Emirates:
The Anthropology of Food and Personal Adornment Among Arabian Women
Beirut, Lebanon: American University of Beirut (1983)
- "My favorite source for henna info has recently been mentioned by Kay, it's _Aesthetics and ritual in the U.A.E._ by Aida Kanafani. Great descriptions of the process of henna-ing." --Zimra
- Naked Song
- 80 pages, $8.00. Poems of a 14th century Kasmiri woman mystic.
"Many of you may be familiar with the life and work of Lalla,
the 12th century Persian mystic and ecstatic dancer. Much of what
is known about her as been suppressed over the years by dominant
notions of what is proper and modest for women. A good deal of the
problem is that, allegedly following an enlightenment experience in
her youth, she danced naked through the streets of Kashmir,
improvising songs to God. She is said to have done this for the rest
of her life, dancing well into her eighties (another of her names is
Lal-ded or Grandmother Lal). One can assume how such an attack on
conventional notions of what is ugly or beautiful, sacred or profane,
continues to horrify patriarchal guardians of custom and morality,
unveiling as it did, quite literally, the suppressed unity of maiden,
mistress, and crone.
"A good number of these trance induced songs were copied down
by witnesses and disciples of hers, and survive to this day. Many
of the lyrics passionately contest conventional ideas of dancing,
celebration, worship, and nudity. The good news is that Threshold
Books has recently published a collection of the songs, indexed under
Women's Studies and Sufism." --Richard
- An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians
Edward William Lane
New York: Dover Publications 
- "Republication of the fifth edition of the work as published by John Murray, London, in 1860 (first edition, 1836)". "This is a classic" --Dianne Also contains henna info.
- Accomodating Protest - Working Women, the New Veiling, and Change in Cairo
Arlene Elowe MacLeod
New York: Columbia University Press (1991)
- (From medance list, courtesy of D. Chidester) "This is a very good examination of the practice of veiling as shown in the practice of hijab. MacLeod talks to women about their work and why they veil and also gets into analysis of the symbolism, both past and present, of the veil. It's pretty readable although at times theory gets a little complex."
- Not Without My Daughter: A True Story
New York: St. Martin's Press (1987)
- "Also good: Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody (yes, the Sally Field movie, but better)..." --Azar
- Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley (1994)
- Lyrical memoirs about her childhood in a 1940's Moroccan harem. Beautifully written and fascinating. "Fatima Mernissi is also the author of "Dreams of Trespass," a more
personal memoir, which was discussed on the net a while back -- a really
great book!" --Andrea D. Excerpt.
- Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley (1992)
- Le Maroc Raconte Par Ses Femmes
Doing Daily Battle: Interviews with Moroccan Women
London: Women's (1988)
- English translation.
- Sultanes Oubliees
The Forgotten Queens of Islam
Cambridge: Polity Press (1993)
- English translation. Includes bibliographic references and index.
- Women and Islam: An Historical and Theological Enquiry
Oxford: Basil Blackwell (1991)
- Includes bibliographic references and index.
- The Veil and the Male Elite
(also listed as) Harem Politique. The Veil and the Male Elite:
A Feminist Interpretation of Women's Rights in Islam
Reading, MA: Addison Wesley (1991)
- " The author is a Moroccan woman who is a sociology
professor in Rabat, Morocco. The opening chapter is a bit dry, as she
explains her research methods. Keep reading, however, as it gets very
interesting. This is a history of the very first days of Islam, how
Muhammad tried to build "an egalitarian society without slaves or sexual
discrimination." The author concludes that he had to jettison these
principles in order to keep his movement alive. In an economy where a
good deal of the wealth was counted in slave and female flesh, the power
interests just would not accept a freeing of the 'treasuries', and in the
end Muhammad did not have the political power to resist them.
"Reading this book widened my understanding of Islam, why it is the way it
is. As an added bonus, it also helped me understand the Christian
tradition I grew up in better too." --Andrea Rodakowski
- Cairo 969-1969
Ministry of Culture and Egyptian Pub. Org., Publishers
no ISBN available
- Of cultural and costuming interest. (From medance list) "...there is a photograph of the Reda folk troupe [plate no. 290] doing the 'Siwa Dance'...Its [sic] a good clear photo of costumes, etc."
- When the Drummers Were Women: A Spiritual History of Rhythm
New York: Three Rivers Press (1997)
- "It's currently in print [Nov. 1997], available from bookstores in large-format paperback for $18. It focuses on the pre-historic era in the Near East, detailing the history of women playing frame drums. Lots of illustrations & photos." --Ramona
- Skinny Legs and All
New York: Bantam Books (1990)
- Mentioned briefly on the medance list: "...He goes into the dance of the seven veils in some detail.....
Many of the Goddesses of rebirth had to shed their jewels/garments to
descend into the underworld to retrieve to soul of their dead husband. The
connection, and the number 7, sound authentic. Salome is also related to
the Salem of Jerusalem, which means peace." --Kahaz
Edward W. Said
New York: Vintage Books (1979)
- Edward Said discusses Orientalism as the "corporate institution for dealing with the Orient--dealing with it by making statements about it, authorizing views of it, describing it, by teaching it, settling it, ruling over it: in short, Orientalism as a Western style for dominating, restructuring, and having authority over the Orient". "[The resource-rich world of Arabs and Islam] is a world painted in the minds of the West by Orientalist imaginations of an effeminate, sexy East, one filled with harems, voluptuous belly dancers and blue-veiled men on horses and camels in the desert. It is a fantasy created by Orientalists, come true in Hollywood, of a world the West has a subliminal desire to penetrate, to dominate." --Ronald L. Iverson, Latent Orientalism Part II: The Modern Legacy, Habibi Vol. 14, No. 4; in an article discussing Said's book and the issues it raises.
- Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia
Jean P. Sasson
New York: Morrow (1992)
- Biography. "Also good...Princess by Jean Sasson (a current paperback about a Saudi princess and its sequel about her daughters)..." --Azar
- Princess Sultana's Daughters
Jean P. Sasson
New York: Doubleday (1994)
- >Biography. "Also good...Princess by Jean Sasson (a current paperback about a Saudi princess and its sequel about her daughters)..." --Azar
- Rending the Veil - Literal and Poetic Translations of Rumi
Shahram T. Shiva
- (From medance list, courtesy of Me'ira) "...if you've only read awful victorian translations of Persian poetry then you've no idea how wonderful mustical persian love poetry can be. These are the poems used in classical Persian dance and imagery. ...the book gives you: 1)the script in farsi, 2) the phonetic transliteration, 3) the literal translation and 4) a poetic version translated. And an added bonus...in the back is a listing of common Persian mystical terminology and symbolism for things like nightingale, ocean, rose, pearl, etc...."
- Women in Islam or Frau im Islam, English transl.
Princeton: M. Wiener Publ. (1993)
- "She first
wrote it in 1981 but has published an updated edition in 1993. This book
explains the Islamic law and Tradition concerning veiling, seculsion,
marriage and divorce, and polygony. There is a long discussion of romance
and love in medieval Islam, and the status of wives, 'dancing girl' slaves,
and concubines in the consideration of men. The book deals mostly with the
status and position of middle and upper class women, with only a little
about lower class women or women of other religions and sects living in the
Middle East during the Middle Ages.
The bibliography lists many books in German and Arabic, but Ms. Walther
included a bibliography of recent English-Language works about women in
Islamic countries." --Melinda
- One of Oscar Wilde's plays (found in any number of collections of his works) and possibly one of the first occurences of attributing a/the dance of the seven veils to Salome or to anyone, actually.
- The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women
New York: William Morrow & Company, Inc. (1991)
- A discussion of American/Western culture's strict set of "beauty" criteriaand what that means for women. It's interesting especially compared with the feeling that so many dancers get from Middle Easter Dance: that the dance celebrates all things female meaning it celebrates all body shapes and types, and women of all ages and stages of life. "This liberating power that Oriental dance can bestow should not be underestimated!" --Basheera, Beyond "The Beauty Myth": The Liberating Power of Oriental Dance, Habibi, Vol. 14, No. 3.
- Virgins of Paradise
- "... The author is Barbara Wood, who I surmise from her acknowledgements is a dancer or dance student in the Los Angeles, CA area... As far as I can tell, Ms. Wood is the first person writing in English to create a book with an Egyptian setting, featuring a heroine who is a professional belly dancer. The 'belly dance' aspecits of the story are important but not the major focus of this family saga. 'Virgins of Paradise' traces the lives mostly of the female members of the very wealthy, very traditional Muslim Rasheed family from 1945 ot the present. It encompasses the various eras in recent Egyptian history: Farouk's reign, Nasser's revolution, the wars with Israel, Sadat, and so on, and depicts how women's roles changed during that time. It also lends enough of the feeling of melodrama present in Egyptian movies to make it, for me, an enjoyable read. (I totally love Egyptian musicals and melodramas. Check 'em out, if you haven't so far.)" --Stephania
"'Virgins of Paradise' was passed to me over the holidays. It's a good read for those interested in the Middle East and in ME dance. There were times when the story line seemed a little repetitive, however. Wood develops the setting beautifully and I will definitely pass the book along to my dance friends." --Dianne Chidester
- Arabic Dictionary
David S. Woodruff
23 Sycamore St.
Rochester, NY 14620-1927 USA
- Mentioned on the medance list as someone who created an Arabic Dictionary, containing names with their definitions, among other words. The first printing is already gone, but a second printing is planned/finished. The author invited snail mail and email queries and orders.