Die Macht der Darstellung
Ulayya bint al-Mahdi (160-210/777-825), the younger sister of the Caliph Harun ar-Rashid and Arib (181-277/797-890), a first enslaved, later manumitted woman are exceptional representatives of the musical and poetic arts at the court of the early Abbasids. Their biographical entries in the Kitab al-Agani by Abu l-Farag al-Isfahani - one of the most important tenth century sources for cultural history - are a substantial foundation for the study at hand. Based upon approaches of postcolonial feminism and critical literary theory the author investigates why and how women entered the androcentric historiographical writings of the Islamic Middle Ages and what happened to their life-stories within the frame of powerful textual presentations. Lauré al-Samarai localizes the close ties between gender, social status and historiographical re-presentation in order to acknowledge Muslim women of early periods as historical agents. Their hitherto almost unknown contributions and specific knowledge are not only an integral part of Islamic history but essential for contemporary feminist discussions.