Recent strands of western historical writing understand gender in medieval Islamic societies through any of number of local cultural, religious and political discourses. This type of writing shifts the focus of historical research away from questions regarding whether Islam debases or improves the status of women--questions that tend to immobilize the subject in a polemic of competing essentialisms-and instead finds gender as having been produced in historically dynamic local processes. My thesis attempts to contribute to th.is literature by exploring how gender functioned as a regulatory issue in the context of the Almoravid political-religious movement in al­Andalus through a close reading of the Risa/at fl al-qada' wa al-hisba, a hisba manual authored by Ibn 'Abdun in Seville around the year 1100 AD. I first situate hisba generally in the discourse of siayasa shar 'iyya. This administrative basis for understanding is expanded in a section linking the pragmatic logic of subject-formation in hisba literature with that offiqh. Several discursive moments related to this logic are provided. I also situate Ibn 'Abdun' s manual in the historical context of its creation. In the relevant period Maliki jurists were increasingly able to effect a number of actions and reforms in line with their vision of the shari 'a under sympathetic Almoravid rule. At the same time, inter-confessional tensions had also peaked. My method of reading Ibn 'Abdun's passages on gender relations are informed by the questions that Judith Butler and Michel Foucault ask about discourse, subject construction and sex. Using these questions I see the numerous prescriptive interdictions regarding the regulation of gender relations as productive of gendered subjects, objects and subjects/objects. They are productive in that they continually form and re-form the subject of"women" (al-nisa ') in relation to different types of men of and for the regulatory authority of the muhtasib. I show how Ibn 'Abdun's Risa/a-written at a critical time in the development of Sunnism in al-Andalus-was a discourse in which gendered subjects/objects were constantly being articulated through of prescriptive interdictions.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Elizabeth Sartain

Committee Member 1

Elizabeth Sartain

Committee Member 2

Nelly Hanna

Committee Member 3

Eleonora Fernandes

Document Type



113 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Islamic civilization

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2


Library of Congress Subject Heading 3

Calvino, Italo;Antonioni, Michelangelo


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Call Number

Thesis 2002/37