When Fernea arrived at the village, she was flabbergasted by the environment and the setting of the village.
She had to make up her mind about donning the At the beginning of her stay, she felt resented and unwanted. They took advantage of every available opportunity to make Fernea feel like an outsider.
In “500 Great Books by Women” (1994), reviewer Rebecca Sullivan wrote, “The story of her life among the Iraqis is eye-opening, written with intellectual honesty as well as love and respect for the seemingly impenetrable society.”The experience inspired Fernea to devote much of the rest of her life to Middle Eastern studies.
First she moved to Cairo, where her three children were born and her husband taught at the American University.
Fernea also explores different themes in the book in an effort to paint a clear picture of her experiences that are a reflection of the life in the small village.
She concluded that there was a strong feminist movement in the Middle East but that it was an “Islamic feminism” that meant women struggled to live in harmony under the laws of Islam.The book exploded “the myth that feminism can’t take root in lands where Islam rules,” Kirkus Reviews said in 1997.Among her other, better-known works were “The Arab World: Personal Encounters” (1985), written with her husband; and “Children in the Muslim Middle East” (1995), a collection of essays that she edited.Annes Mc Cann-Baker, a former editor at the university’s Middle Eastern center, said Fernea had a talent for recognizing promising authors who were unknown in the West.“She was obviously a really intelligent woman but she was also kind and funny, and she made the Middle Eastern center here at the university a home for many from abroad,” Mc Cann-Baker said.Fernea went on to produce several documentaries about the Middle East.In addition to her husband, Robert, Fernea is survived by her daughters, Laura Ann and Laila; her son, David; and several grandchildren.by Elizabeth Wernick Fernea is an account of her experiences in El Nahra in Iraq.In 1966, they relocated to Austin, Texas, where he eventually became director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas.Elizabeth raised her children and began writing books on a manual typewriter that she used until two years ago.She tries to disabuse the western of the numerous misconceptions about life in Asian countries.The author explains the meanings of different events and rituals conducted by members of the El Eshadda tribe in order to get rid of ambiguities that inform the western ideologies regarding the culture of the Orient.