Volume 43, Issue 1 p. 58-73

The Problem of “Ninjas” and “Bandits”: Ethnographic Encounters with Reformist Muslim Women in Guinea

Susanna Fioratta

Susanna Fioratta

Department of Anthropology, Bryn Mawr College, 101 North Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

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First published: 26 June 2018


Muslim women in Guinea who wear face and body coverings are derisively called “ninjas” and “bandits,” while those who attend Arabic language and Koranic reading classes are widely regarded with suspicion. This article focuses on women participating in a controversial religious movement, explores how these women engage and embody the limits of gender roles, and asks how examining the experiences of aberrant women can challenge assumptions about both gender and ethnographic practice.