Primary Source

Patience and Power by Susan Davis

Title page of Patience and Power by Susan Schaefer Davis, with the subtitle "Women's Lives in a Moroccan Village."


Patience and Power, Women's Lives in a Moroccan Village is an anthology of anecdotes, interviews, and observations by American anthropologist Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis. Fluent in Moroccan Arabic and "comfortable" in the culture, Davis compile her work to combat previous studies of Moroccan women that were written from a male viewpoint and were frequently superficial in their content. Davis's accounts characterize Moroccan women as, above all, patient and powerful. In a majorly male-dominated world, Moroccan women exercise a creative variety of ways to assert their own authority in the home and in society, often by patiently waiting for alternatives to undesirable situations. The accounts in Davis's work attempt to establish a different view of Islamic women for a primarily western audience accustomed to more stereotypical perception of the Muslim faith. Instead, Davis's work reveals an extensive female support system among Moroccan village women, and she emphasizes their skill in patient, powerful, and self-assertive methods to achieve their needs and goals. Despite the first-hand accounts that appear in Patience and Power, readers should remain aware that Davis is writing as an American woman in Morocco. As it was originally published during the tail-end of second wave feminism in the United States, Patience and Power reflects ideals of the U.S. feminist movement in its stories about Moroccan women.

This source is part of the Analyzing Personal Accounts methods module.


Susan Schaefer Davis. Patience and Power: Women's Lives in a Moroccan Village. Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing Company, Inc., 1983.

How to Cite This Source

"Patience and Power by Susan Davis," in World History Commons, [accessed May 28, 2024]