Further reading on race, gender, and belly dance.

Several people have been asking me about further reading materials in response to Randa Jarrar’s article on white belly dancers.  You can find some of these through Google Scholar (scholar.google.com).  Others you will have to find at your library or through Inter-Library Loan.  This is by no means a complete list, and it is belly dance- and Middle East-specific.  For reading about broader race and privilege issues, I’m afraid I am of little help.

That said, here are a few to get you started:

Ahmed, Leila. “Western Ethnocentrism and the Perception of the Harem.” Feminist Studies 8:3 (1982): 521-534.

Bullock, Katherine. “Challenging Media Representations of the Veil: Contemporary Muslim Women’s Re-Veiling Movement.” American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 17:3 (2000): 22-53.

Dox, Donnalee. “Dancing around Orientalism.” TDR/The Drama Review 50:4 (2006): 52-71.

Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1989.

Jarmakani, Amira. “Belly Dancing for Liberation.” In Arabs in the Americas: Interdisciplinary Essays on the Arab Diaspora, ed. Darcy Zabel, 145-168.  New York: Peter Land Press, 2006.

——— Imagining Arab Womanhood: The Cultural Mythology of Veils, Harems, and Belly Dancers in the US. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Karayanni, Stavros Stavrou. Dancing Fear & Desire: Race, Sexuality, & Imperial Politics in Middle Eastern Dance. Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2004.

Maira, Sunaina.  “Belly Dancing: Arab-Face, Orientalist Feminism, and U.S. Empire.” American Quarterly 60:2 (2008) 317-345.

Said, Edward W. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.

Shaheen, Jack. Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People. Northampton, MA: Interlink Publishing Group, 2001.

Shay, Anthony and Barbara Sellers-Young. “Belly Dance: Orientalism: Exoticism: Self-Exoticism.” Dance Research Journal 35:1 (2003): 13-37.

Stone, Rebecca. “Reverse Imagery: Middle Eastern Themes in Hollywood.” In Images of Enchantment: Visual and Performing Arts of the Middle East. Edited by Sherifa Zuhur, 247-263. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1998.

Van Nieuwkerk, Karin. A Trade Like Any Other: Female Singers and Dancers in Egypt. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1995.

Wilkinson, Linda (Latifa). “The Harem: Contrasting Orientalist and Feminist Views.” Habibi 19:1 (2002). Accessed December 26, 2013. http://thebestofhabibi.com/vol-19-no-1-feb-2002/the-harem/


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Omg thank you for these!




I wrote an article for Habibi called “In the Shadow of Salome” that was published in 2007 about these issues. Unfortunately, I don’t think that issue of Habibi was ever digitized.



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