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The production of knowledge on women, gender, and Islamic cultures in the field of cultural diplomacy

By Vron Ware


This entry examines the production of knowledge on Muslim women in the emerging field of public diplomacy, looking at terms such as ‘soft power’ where culture is instrumentalized as a tool of foreign policy. It focuses on the significance of gender and culture in mediating diplomatic relations between Anglophone and Muslim-majority countries, particularly since geo-political shifts in 2001. This phenomenon is contextualised in two ways. First, it is well established that questions of gender and sexuality have long defined antagonist relations between Islamic and Christian cultures. Second, particular constructions of Muslim women, particularly those that indicate rigid patriarchal laws and values, are shown to have played a role in mobilizing western publics to support military occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2001, the strategies employed to influence foreign publics as a corollary of military force, particularly young people in Muslim-majority countries, have become ever more diffuse, summed up by the clichéd ‘battle for hearts and minds’

Publisher: The Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures (on-line edition), BRILL
Year: 2009
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Provided by: Open Research Online
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