Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Department 1



The phenomenon of “honor” killing is one that has formed out of deeply rooted concepts of sexuality and gender roles in Muslim societies. These conceptions have been implemented into everyday life and social infrastructure and have created, in some places, a generally accepted power dynamic that subjugates women and generates conceptualizations about women’s sexuality and their assumed obedience. In recent decades the gender constructions of, predominantly, the Middle East and of other Muslim populations have captured the attention of Western thinkers, especially with regards to feminist thought. The Western gaze has produced a number of responses, some of which have reinforced and even strengthened imbalanced gender hierarchies as a means of rejecting Western engagement. The idea of “honor” means something different within the context of Muslim cultures and is not one necessarily accessible to outsiders. The practice of “honor” killing found in some Muslim communities is built on a foundation of gender ideologies that have predominated since pre-modern Muslim society and it is driven by the need to hold onto traditional values.


This paper was written for Professor Amy Evrard's course, ANTH 218: Islam and Women, Spring 2016.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.