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|This biographical article relies on references to primary sources. (November 2012)|
|Criticism and awards|
Mernissi was born into a middle-class family in Fes in 1940. She received her primary education in a school established by the nationalist movement, and secondary level education in an all-girls school funded by the French protectorate. In 1957, she studied political science at the Sorbonne and at Brandeis University, where she earned her doctorate. She returned to work at the Mohammed V University and taught at the Faculté des Lettres between 1974 and 1981 on subjects such as methodology, family sociology and psychosociology. She has become noted internationally mainly as an Islamic feminist.
As an Islamic feminist, Mernissi is largely concerned with Islam and women's roles in it, analyzing the historical development of Islamic thought and its modern manifestation. Through a detailed investigation of the nature of the succession to Muhammad, she casts doubt on the validity of some of the hadith (sayings and traditions attributed to him), and therefore the subordination of women that she sees in Islam, but not necessarily in the Qur'an. She write extensively life within harems, gender, and public and private spheres.
As a sociologist Mernissi has done fieldwork mainly in Morocco. On several occasions in the late 1970s and early 1980s she conducted interviews in order to map prevailing attitudes to women and work. She has done sociological research for UNESCO and ILO as well as for the Moroccan authorities. In the late 1970s and in the 1980s Mernissi contributed articles to periodicals and other publications on women in Morocco and women and Islam from a contemporary as well as from a historical perspective.
Mernissi’s first monograph, Beyond the Veil, was published in 1975. A revised edition was published in Britain in 1985 and in the US in 1987. Beyond the Veil has become a classic, especially in the fields of anthropology and sociology on women in the Arab World, the Mediterranean area or Muslim societies in general. Her most famous book, as an Islamic feminist, The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Islam, is a quasi-historical study of role of the wives of Muhammad. It was first published in French in 1987, and translated into English in 1991. For Doing Daily Battle: Interviews with Moroccan Women (1991), she interviewed peasant women, women labourers, clairvoyants and maidservants. In 1994, Mernissi published a memoir, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood (in the US, the book was originally titled The Harem Within: Tales of a Moroccan Girlhood, and is still known by that title in the UK).
- 1975: Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in a Muslim Society. revised ed. 1985, 1987, reprinted London: Saqi Books (2011). ISBN 0-86356-412-7
- Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood. New York: Perseus Books (1995). ISBN 0-201-48937-6
- 1983: Le Maroc raconté par ses femmes.
- 1984: L’amour dans les pays musulmans
- 1985: Femmes du Gharb
- 1987: Le harem politique – Le Prophète et les femmes , trans. The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Islam. New York: Basic Books (1992). ISBN 978-0201-63221-7
- 1988: Shahrazad n’est pas marocaine
- 1990: Sultanes oubliées – Femmes chefs d’Etat en Islam (trans. 1993: Forgotten Queens of Islam)
- 1992: La Peur-Modernité
- 1993: Women’s Rebellion and Islamic Memory
- 1994: The Harem Within (retitled Dreams of Trespass – Tales of a Harem Girlhood )
- 1997: Les Aït-Débrouille
- 1998: Etes-vous vacciné contre le Harem?
- 2001: Scheherazade Goes West. New York: Washington Square Press. ISBN 0-7434-1243-5
- Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World. New York: Basic Books (2002). ISBN 0-7382-0745-4
- Les Femmes Du Maroc. Brooklyn: powerHouse Books (2009). ISBN 1-57687-491-5
edited by Mernissi:
- Doing Daily Battle: Interviews with Moroccan Women . Translated by Mary Jo Lakeland. New Brunswick, N.J., 1988.
- Mernissi, Fatima (1987). Beyond the veil: male-female dynamics in modern Muslim society. Indiana University Press. p. 6.
- "Featured Alumni". Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Mernissi, Fatima". Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "Mernissi, Fatima". Retrieved March 3, 2014.
- "WISE". Fatema Mernissi. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Notable Feminist Fatema Mernissi". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Notable Feminist Fatema Mernissi, Susan Sontag - Literature 2003". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Muslim Women: Past and Present". Fatema Mernissi. WISE. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Khaleeli, Homa. "Fatema Mernissi". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- Mernissi, Fatima (1994). The harem within (Bantam reprint. ed.). Toronto: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0553408140.
- Mernissi, Fatima (1995). Dreams of trespass : tales of a harem girlhood. Photographs by Ruth V. Ward (26. printing. ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus Books. ISBN 978-0201489378.
- Fatema Mernissi's website
- Chronological Overview of books by Fatema Mernissi
- Premio Principe de Asturias de las Letras 2003
- Entrevista El País 6-7-2008
- Entrevista El Pais 31-10-1989
- Entrevista Encuentros Digitales El Mundo.es
- Articulos en El Pais sobre Fatima Mernissi
- Rebel for the sake of women
- The Prophet and Freedom of the Individual
- Politics and the Prophet, review of Mernissi's Islam and Democracy, by Martin Kramer
- Fatema Mernissi at the Internet Movie Database