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Gendered ResistanceWomen, Slavery, and the Legacy of Margaret Garner$
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Mary E. Frederickson and Delores M. Walters

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037900

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037900.001.0001

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Marginality and Allegories of Gendered Resistance

Marginality and Allegories of Gendered Resistance

Experiences from Southern Yemen

(p.147) Chapter 7 Marginality and Allegories of Gendered Resistance
Gendered Resistance

Huda Seif

University of Illinois Press

This chapter argues that the deployment and circulation of narratives of (dis)possession by the devil, particularly among women, represent a gendered form of understanding marginality and of confronting exploitation, domination, and material adversity. The compelling presence of the devil and malevolent spirits called jinn in the Delta region of southern Yemen in the 1990s echo accounts of spirits, tricksters, or aye in West African and New World cultures. Moreover, Margaret Garner's life history as interpreted by Toni Morrison in Beloved connects readers with a spiritual world of memory and possession that mirrors the experience of women spiritual healers and their patients in Yemen's al-Wadi Delta. Ultimately, internal and external struggles for control dominate Morrison's narrative of enslaved American women and the lives of women agricultural workers in southern Yemen.

Keywords:   marginality, exploitation, malevolent spirits, jinn, southern Yemen, Toni Morrison, women spiritual healers, women agricultural workers

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