1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Harmful Cultural Practices

    564 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook looks at cross-cultural work on harmful cultural practices considered gendered forms of abuse of women. These include female genital mutilation (FGM), virginity testing, hymenoplasty, and genital cosmetic surgery.
    Bringing together comparative perspectives, intersectionality, and interdisciplinarity, it uses feminist methodology and mixed methods, with ethnography of central importance, to provide holistic, grounded theorizing within a framework of transformative research. Taking female genital mutilation, a topical, contested practice, and making it a heuristic reference for related procedures makes the case for global action based on understanding the complexity of harmful cultural practices that are contextually differentiated and experienced in intersectional ways. But because this phenomenon is enshrouded in matters of sensitivity and prejudice, narratives of suffering are muted and even suppressed, are dismissed as indigenous ritual, or become ammunition for racist organizing. Such conflicted and often opaque debates obstruct clear vision of the scale of both problem and solution.

    Divided into six parts:

    • Discourses and Epistemological Fault Lines
    • FGM and Related Patriarchal Inscriptions
    • Gender and Genitalia
    • Female Bodies and Body Politics: Economics, Law, Medicine, Public Health, and Human Rights
    • Placing Engagement, Innovation, Impact, Care
    • Words and Texts to Shatter Silence

    Comprised of 24 newly written chapters from experts around the world, this book will be of interest to scholars and students of nursing, social work, and allied health more broadly, as well as sociology, gender studies, and postcolonial studies.

    Part One: Discourses and Epistemological Faultlines

    Chapter One – Constructing Excision, Writing Pain
    Evelyne Accad

    Chapter Two – Reflections on Femininity and FGM
    Lorraine Koonce Farahmand

    Chapter Three – FGM/C and the Female Perpetrator: Analysis of an Underdeveloped Figure
    Daniela Hrzán

    Chapter Four – The Archaeology of Female Genital Mutilation in German National Politics: "We-groups", othering, and the pertinence of intersecting discourses "FGM and Femininity"
    Lea Kristin Kleinsorg

    Part Two: FGM and Related Patriarchal Inscriptions

    Chapter Five – Trends in Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A qualitative investigation focusing on mothers of circumcised Nigerian girls
    Oluchukwu Loveth Obiora, Johanna Elizabeth Maree, and Nokuthula Nkoshi

    Chapter Six – The British Campaign to Ban Virginity Testing and Hymenoplasty
    Saarrah Ray

    Chapter Seven – Is it really "easier to dig a hole than build a pole"? Feminist reflections on genital surgery for children born with ambiguous genitalia
    Marion Hulverscheidt

    Part Three: Gender and Genitalia

    Chapter Eight – Circumcision as Inscriptions of Gender: Implications of Eradication or Sustenance
    Mary Nyangweso

    Chapter Nine – Patriarchal Inscription on African Women: Negotiating Zero Tolerance for FGM
    Adebisi Adebayo

    Chapter Ten – Marginalization of community voices in fighting female circumcision
    Phyllis Livaha

    Part Four: Female Bodies and Body Politics: Economics, Law, Health, and Human Rights

    Chapter Eleven - What did the judge say? A comparative analysis of selected FGM case law in high-income & low-income countries
    Micali Drossos, I., Komba, P., and Granier, L.M.C.

    Chapter Twelve – FGM Studies: Economics, Public Health, and Societal Wellbeing
    Hilary Burrage

    Chapter Thirteen – FGM – Health, law, education and sustainable goals through upstream and downstream approaches
    Felicity Gerry, Andrew Rowland, Charlotte Proudman, Joseph Home and Hoda Ali

    Chapter Fourteen – Reclaiming Autonomy of Body: Comparing Memoirs by Khady Koïta and Hibo Wardere
    U. H. Ruhina Jesmin

    Chapter Fifteen – Emotional and behavioral consequences of FGM/C among West African women residents in the United States
    Mariama Diallo

    Chapter Sixteen – FGM in one of the world’s richest countries: the case of Singapore
    John Chua

    Part Five: Placing Engagement, Innovation, Impact, Care

    Chapter Seventeen – "The law against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) can scare people from performing FGM, but it doesn’t change their attitudes": Findings of a qualitative study in Leeds, United Kingdom
    Olayemi Babajide, Abimbola Babajide and Bassey Ebenso

    Chapter Eighteen – Morbidity due to Female Genital Mutilation: A Scoping Review
    Ava G. Chappell, Daniel C. Sasson, Abbas Hassan; Yufan Yan, Annie B. Wescott, Melissa Simon, Lori A. Post, and Sumanas W. Jordan

    Chapter Nineteen – Female Genital Mutilation in African and African Diaspora Memoir and Fiction
    Tobe Levin von Gleichen and Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana

    Chapter Twenty – Assessment of oral media utilization on ‘female circumcision’ among the Abagusii of Kenya
    Felister Nyaera Nkangi

    Part Six: Words and Texts to Shatter Silence

    Chapter Twenty-one – Voices to End Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: Using Digital Storytelling to End a Harmful Social Norm
    Mariya Taher, Amy Hill, Sandra Yu, and Kamakshi Arora

    Chapter Twenty-two – FGM in Germany in the Context of Migration
    Abadjayé Gwladys Awo

    Chapter Twenty-three – ‘I'm going to be judged for having FGM’: national health service experiences described by women affected by female genital mutilation in the United Kingdom and Europe
    Rewan Youssif* & Charnele Nunes*, Manar Marzouk, Sameera Hassan, Mervat Alhaffar, and Natasha Howard

    Chapter Twenty-four – "This is not my fatherland." Female Genital Mutilation: Stories from the lives of Nigerian exiles in Italy
    Annagrazia Faraca


    Maria Jaschok is Senior Research Associate of Contemporary China Studies in the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies. Professor Jaschok’s research interests are in the areas of religion, gender, and agency; gendered constructions of memory; feminist aural ethnography; and marginality and identity. Since 1994, her research in central China has become increasingly focused on the historical intersections of Islam, gender, and spatial identity.

    U. H. Ruhina Jesmin, PhD, Professor, English Discipline, Khulna University, Bangladesh, has been teaching literature since 2012. She publishes research articles and book reviews in indexed journals, including the Web of Science and Scopus, among others, and reviews journal articles for Taylor & Francis. Her research mostly focuses on African American literature, Alice Walker’s novels, FGM in memoir and fiction, and intersections of race, gender, and sexuality studies.

    Tobe Levin von Gleichen, PhD, has been, since 1977, an international scholar and activist against female genital mutilation. She was a visiting research fellow with IGS, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, 2014–2016. Since 2006, she has been an associate of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University. In 2009, she launched UnCUT/VOICES Press specializing in books on FGM, and cofounded FORWARD (in Germany) in 1998.

    Comfort Momoh, MBE, is FGM Consultant/Public Health Specialist with extensive experience of holistic, women-centered care and 35 years’ experience working for the National Health Service (NHS). Dr Momoh researches women’s health and campaigns with vehemence against domestic violence, for women’s and children’s rights, and to eradicate FGM. In 2008, she was honored for her expertise and dedication by HRH Queen Elizabeth II, who made her a Member of the British Empire (MBE), and by Middlesex University, who awarded her an honorary doctorate.