Author

Dunham

Date of Award

12-2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Laura Spielvogel

Second Advisor

Dr. Bilinda Straight

Third Advisor

Dr. Mustafa Mughazy

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

The canon of academic research on Saudi Arabian women still fails to address the stereotypical images that represent them. While Anglo-American models of feminism may benefit American women, they cannot and should not be a lens through which Americans view Saudi women, as American and Saudi cultures are fundamentally different. Because of this issue, Anglo-American feminism along with the obvious problems of racism and Islamophobia contribute to the American assumption that Saudi Arabian women lack agency and control of their lives. The resulting ideologies continue to influence American ideas about Saudi Arabian women’s access to the opportunities that non-Saudi women may take for granted. Through qualitative ethnographic research, this thesis examines the changing lives of Saudi Arabian women to illustrate that, despite Anglo-American assumptions about their disempowerment, Saudi Arabian women do have access to many opportunities that non-Saudi women take advantage of.

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