Phoenix rising

The West’s use (and misuse) of anglophone memoirs by Pakistani women

Authored by: Colleen Lutz Clemens

The Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138745520
eBook ISBN: 9781315180618
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter studies the essentialist notions of women in the East created by politicians and readers in the West. Using political speeches, academic theory, and textual evidence, it shows how the well-studied trope of veiling women and a new trope, the phoenix, work in tandem to reify the orientalism inscribed in Western rhetoric pertaining to Eastern women, with an eye towards the complexity of those two geographical terms. Close analysis of the popularity of the memoirs of Mukhtar Mai and Malala Yousafzai shows that phoenix narratives act as reinscriptions of essentialist narratives about women in the East, particularly Pakistani women.

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