Cooke, Miriam 1948-
Cooke, Miriam 1948-
Born August 30, 1948, in CO; daughter of Hedley Vicars (a diplomat and academic) and Edit (an art dealer) Cooke; married Bruce Bennett Lawrence, April 24, 1983. Ethnicity: "White." Education: University of Edinburgh, M.A. (with honors), 1971; St. Antony's College, Oxford, D.Phil., 1980.
Home—Hillsborough, NC. Office—Department of Asian and African Languages and Literature, 222 Trent, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708; fax: 919-681-7871. E-mail—[email protected]
Duke University, Durham, NC, lecturer, 1980-81, assistant professor, 1981-87, associate professor, 1987-93, professor of Arab culture, 1993—, director of Asian and African languages and literature, 1988-93, department chair, 1996-99. University of Bucharest, visiting professor, 1998; Miami University, Oxford, OH, Grayson Kirk Distinguished Lecturer, 1999; Tunis I University, visiting professor, 2000; Islamic State University, Jakarta, Indonesia, visiting professor, 2006; lecturer at other colleges and universities, including Venice International University, University of Cape Town, Case Western Reserve University, Vanderbilt University, University of Notre Dame, Emory Univer- sity, University of Yas, University of St. Petersburg, and University of Vermont; U.S. Information Agency, member of lecture tour in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Pakistan, and Lebanon, 1983; Moroccan-American Foundation, member of board of trustees, 1986-89; Opatija Conference on Peace and Human Rights, member of international organizing committee, 1994-96; organizer of symposia, conferences, and cultural festivals. Moroccan-American Foundation, trustee, 1986-89. Member of editorial staff, World Literature Today, 1984-89; member of editorial board, Arabiyya, 1982-87; International Journal of Middle East Studies, Paintbrush, CyberOrient, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and Hawwa: Journal of Middle East and Muslim Women's Studies, all 2002-05; Journal of Contemporary Islam, 2005-07; and Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 2005-09.
World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (council member, 2004-10), Modern Language Association of America, Association of Middle Eastern Women's Studies (president, 2001-03), Middle East Studies Association (member of editorial board, 1989—), American Institute for Maghrebi Studies (member of executive board, 1999-2002), American Association of Teachers of Arabic (member of executive board, 1982-84), American Association for Research in Baghdad (member of executive board, 2003-06).
Grant from Oriental Institute, Oxford, 1979; Fulbright scholar in Lebanon and Yemen, 1982, and Syria, 1995-96; citation for "outstanding academic book," Choice, 1985, for The Anatomy of an Egyptian Intellectual, Yahya Haqqi, 1997, for Women and the War Story, and 2000, for Women Claim Islam: Creating Islamic Feminism through Literature; Josiah Trent Foundation grants, 1985 and 2000; scholar of Social Science Research Council, 1986; fellow of American Association of University Women, 1986; first prize, books of contemporary relevance, Chicago Women in Publishing, 1991, for Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing; grant from North Carolina Humanities Council, 1994.
The Anatomy of an Egyptian Intellectual, Yahya Haqqi, Three Continents Press (Washington, DC), 1984.
(Editor and translator) Yahya Haqqi, Good Morning and Other Stories!, Three Continents Press (Washington, DC), 1987.
(Editor, with Margot Badran) Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1990, 2nd edition, with new introduction, 2004.
(Editor, with Angela Woollacott) Gendering War Talk, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1993.
(Editor, with Roshni Rustomji-Kerns) Blood into Ink: Twentieth-Century South Asian and Middle Eastern Women Write War, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1994.
Women and the War Story, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1997.
Women Claim Islam: Creating Islamic Feminism through Literature, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000.
Hayati, My Life (novel), Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 2000.
(Editor, with Bruce B. Lawrence) Muslim Networks: From Hajj to Hip Hop, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2005.
Dissident Syria: Making Oppositional Arts Official, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2007.
(Editor, with Grant Parker and Erdag Goknar) Mediterranean Passages: Readings from Dido to Derrida, University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 2008.
Contributor to books, including The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Modern Arabic Literature, edited by M.M. Badawi, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1992; Ourselves among Others: Cross-cultural Readings for Writers, edited by Carol Verburg, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994; Love and Sexuality in Modern Arabic Literature, edited by Roger Allen, Hilary Kilpatrick, and Ed de Moor, Saqi Press, 1995; Religious Diversity and Human Rights, edited by Irene Bloom, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1996; and Understanding the Contemporary Middle East, edited by Deborah J. Gerner, Lynne Rienner (Boulder, CO), 2000. Coeditor of "Gender and Power in the Middle East," a book series, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1994—. Contributor of dozens of articles and reviews to academic journals, including International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, South Atlantic Quarterly, Journal of Arab Affairs, World Literature Today, Religion and Literature, Women in International Development, Journal of Urban and Cultural Studies, Cultural Values, Journal of Arabic Literature, and World and I. Associate editor, Journalof Middle East Women's Studies, 2004-06; Language and literature book review editor, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, 1989-94; guest editor, Edebiyat, 1993.
Some of Cooke's books have been translated into Arabic and German.
Miriam Cooke is a professor of Arabic language and literature who has been a visiting professor at institutions all over the world, including the University of Bucharest, Tunis I University, and the University of Cape Town. The majority of Cooke's books are analyses of the works of female Arabic-language writers, especially those writers who address the wars that have been such a prominent part of the postcolonial Arabic world. In Women and the War Story, which considers conflicts such as the Algerian war of independence, the Intifada of the Palestinians against Israel, the Iran/Iraq War, the Gulf War, and the Lebanese Civil War, Cooke analyzes the stories that men have historically told about wars and examines the ways in which women's demands to be allowed to write about these wars have altered the "metanarrative" of violent conflict. In a review for World Literature Today, Ibrahim Dawood called Women and the War Story "a distinguished feminist work" and "an invaluable addition to antiwar literature."
Cooke also wrote a novel called Hayati, My Life. This book follows three generations of Palestinian women living in Jerusalem during the turbulent years from 1947 through 1990. A Publishers Weekly contributor called it a "delicately crafted novel" and particularly appreciated the "complex character relationships" that Cooke created.
Cooke once told CA: "I wrote Hayati, My Life in five weeks. I did not know that it was possible to write like that, to be able to trust the flow of events and characters on to the page. Each morning during that amazing summer in Oxford, I would rush to my child's desk in the house that my husband and I had rented to find out what had happened to my characters Affaf and Assia and Maryam and Hibba while I had been asleep. Sometimes I was ravenously hungry, at other times sick to my stomach, but always excited, my heart beating. Then, one day at three o'clock in the afternoon, as suddenly as it had started, it was over. I closed the Moroccan leather folder in which I kept the growing pile of papers covered with pink ink, and I did not look at it again for two years. During that period I was content to consider the experience useful to me as a literary critic, perhaps even essential. Without that adventure into the imagination, how could I appreciate what drove and sustained the many Arab women whose writings I had been analyzing for the past fifteen years? It was a debt discharged, because I had learned so much from their novels and short stories about women's strength and survival in wars in the Middle East and North Africa. Their writings demonstrated the power of the human will to overcome and sublimate pain and sadness. And in some ways, this novel is more theirs than it is mine, because it is almost as though they dictated this tale of loss, migration, and steadfastness in a Palestinian family.
"Writing this novel was a revelation: articulating thoughts on paper need not be an anguished struggle in which each word is considered, reconsidered, rejected, restored, and finally shelved for possible later use. Publishing this novel was another revelation: the impact of the story is immediate and the message, so carefully crafted, measured, and often opaque in the critical text, passes easily. For a while I thought that I had found a new career, that I would no longer write nonfiction. I now know that I shall. The novelist and the critic inside me are in constant dialogue, each demanding attention to herself and to the reader. Writing may be a task executed alone, but it is always a reaching out to others, a plea to others to share the belief that despite war, poverty, and global injustice, tomorrow may be better than today."
As she predicted, Cooke returned to nonfiction. Muslim Networks: From Hajj to Hip Hop is a collection of essays that venture beyond the all-too-frequent perception that Muslim "networks" must be involved in terrorism, money laundering, and political activism and intrigue. The contributors look at the long history of Muslim networks as links to community and conservators of culture, especially as Muslim families can now be found in almost every corner of the world. The networks also function as facilitators of the charitable works that, in most cases, are a genuine, integral component of religious observance in the Muslim world.
In Dissident Syria: Making Oppositional Arts Official, Cooke offers a rare look at the middle ground that exists (or at least existed during the reign of the late president Hafez al-Assad) between the intellectual underground in Syria and the official government publishing authority. She writes about the dissident artists whose ingenious subterfuges escape government scrutiny and make it possible for their books, artwork, and other creations to make their way into the hands of a waiting audience. They are thus able to spread their provocative messages without triggering reprisals that could range from censorship to prison sentences. On the other hand, she writes of the authorities who agree officially to publish controversial works, but never allow them to be distributed to the public. Cooke experienced this phenomenon herself, when she tried to locate a book that she had heard of but never seen. When she finally requested it from a government source, her request surprised the official she had contacted. She acquired the book but left her contact wondering how she had even heard of the book. This is unfamiliar territory to American readers, but the delicate negotiations between art and authority are often a fact of life in places where government approval overrides the democracy of the marketplace.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Belles Lettres, fall, 1993, Lauren Glen Dunlap, review of Gendering War Talk, pp. 46-47.
Booklist, November 1, 2000, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Hayati, My Life, p. 518.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March-April, 1994, J. Ann Tickner, review of Gendering War Talk, pp. 58-59.
Choice, January, 1985, review of The Anatomy of an Egyptian Intellectual; August, 1988, review of War's Other Voices: Women Writers on the Lebanese Civil War; January, 1994, J. Wishnia, review of Gendering War Talk, p. 875; April, 1997, review of Women and the War Story; May, 2001, B. Harlow, review of Hayati, My Life, p. 1623; October, 2001, review of Women Claim Islam: Creating Islamic Feminism through Literature; July-August, 2005, P.S. Spalding, review of Muslim Networks: From Hajj to Hip Hop, p. 2003.
Christian Science Monitor, June 11, 1997, Merle Rubin, "Chronicling Women's Voices in the Midst of Middle East Wars," p. 15.
Chronicle of Higher Education, September 28, 2007, Richard Byrne, review of Dissident Syria: Making Oppositional Arts Official.
CLIO, winter, 1998, Kristine A. Miller, review of Gendering War Talk, pp. 289-303.
Contemporary Sociology, July, 1995, Lynn Eden, review of Gendering War Talk, pp. 411-412.
Ethnic and Racial Studies, July, 1998, Evelyne Accad, review of Women and the War Story, pp. 786-787.
Hypatia, spring, 1994, Adrienne E. Christiansen, review of Gendering War Talk, pp. 206-212.
International Journal of Middle East Studies, August, 1990, Sabah Ghandour, review of War's Other Voices, pp. 355-357; November, 1990, Magda M. Al-Nowaihi, review of Good Morning and Other Stories, pp. 493-497; May, 2007, Gregory Starrett, review of Muslim Networks, p. 298.
Journal of Modern Literature, spring, 1993, Diana A. Royer, review of Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing, p. 194.
Journal of Peace Research, November, 1994, Mark Behr, review of Gendering War Talk, p. 462.
Journal of Third World Studies, spring, 1995, Patricia Geesey, review of Blood into Ink: Twentieth-Century South Asian and Middle Eastern Women Write War, pp. 297-300.
Journal of Women's History, winter, 1997, Wendy Singer, review of Blood into Ink, pp. 153-162.
Library Journal, January, 1997, Roseanne Castellino, review of Women and the War Story, p. 127; December, 2000, Faye A. Chadwell, review of Hayati, My Life, p. 186.
Middle East Journal, summer, 1989, Elizabeth Fernea, review of War's Other Voices, pp. 541-542; autumn, 1995, Marilyn Booth, review of Blood into Ink, pp. 683-684; summer, 1998, Donna Robinson Divine, review of Women and the War Story, pp. 473-476.
Nation, May 12, 1997, Barbara Ehrenreich, review of Women and the War Story, pp. 21-24.
New Statesman & Society, August 10, 1990, Kitty Warnock, review of Opening the Gates, pp. 34-35.
NWSA Journal, summer, 1994, Mary Anne Schofield, review of Gendering War Talk, pp. 348-350.
Publishers Weekly, May 18, 1990, Penny Kaganoff, review of Opening the Gates, p. 77; March 29, 1993, review of Gendering War Talk, p. 46; October 9, 2000, review of Hayati, My Life, p. 73.
Signs, winter, 2000, Leisa D. Meyer, review of Women and the War Story, p. 573.
Studies in the Humanities, June-December, 2003, Maysa Abou-Youssef Hayward, interview with Miriam Cooke, p. 140.
Tikkun, May-June, 2005, review of Muslim Networks, p. 81.
Women and Politics, summer, 1995, Francine D'Amico, review of Gendering War Talk, pp. 97-102.
Women's Review of Books, September, 1989, review of War's Other Voices; July, 1991, review of Opening the Gates; September, 1993, Ruth Rosen, review of Gendering War Talk, pp. 10-11.
World Literature Today, summer, 1991, John Haywood, review of Opening the Gates, p. 540; winter, 1998, Ibrahim Dawood, review of Women and the War Story, pp. 195-196.