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Gender

New Texts Out Now: Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh and Isis Nusair, Displaced at Home

[Cover of Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh and Isis Nusair, eds,

Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh and Isis Nusair, editors, Displaced at Home: Ethnicity and Gender among Palestinians in Israel. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2010. Jadaliyya: What made you write this book? Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh and Isis Nusair: The idea for the collection began at an informal gathering of five friends, all doctoral students or recent graduates and all Palestinians from “inside.” We had gathered for lunch during the 2005 Middle East Studies Association meeting to catch up on each other’s news. Our conversations about our research over that lunch were so interesting it seemed obvious to us that we should organize a panel together for the next MESA ...

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New Texts Out Now: Zakia Salime, Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco

[Cover of Zakia Salime,

Zakia Salime, Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011. Jadaliyya: What made you write this book? Zakia Salime: In this critical time of sweeping revolts and political changes in the Middle East, it is very useful to revisit the spaces of contentions that have been opened by women’s rights groups. My book shows how two decades of struggles over broadening the spheres of expression and rights have led to dramatic changes in both Moroccan feminism and Moroccan Islamism. My interest in documenting these shifts began with my own involvement in the feminist movement during the 1990s. I wanted to ...

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New Texts Out Now: Wilson Chacko Jacob, Working Out Egypt

[Cover of Wilson Chacko Jacob,

Wilson Chacko Jacob, Working Out Egypt: Effendi Masculinity and Subject Formation in Colonial Modernity, 1870–1940. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011. Jadaliyya: What made you write this book? Wilson Chacko Jacob: Working Out Egypt has a number of possible origins, some related to decisions I have made and others that seem entirely divorced from me. In the first place, it was a revision of my doctoral dissertation written under Zachary Lockman’s supervision at New York University. Having had a prior incarnation cannot but leave its mark. In this case, that previous life as a PhD thesis meant that what now sometimes seems to me to be a student’s concerns, about ...

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What is a Virgin?

[Female anatomy. Image from unknown archive]

* What follows is a germ of a longer and more detailed piece. The names, dates and places related to this court case have been omitted in order to protect the anonymity of the plaintiffs. In recent years, the Lebanese Druze Court of Appeals adjudicated a particularly ugly divorce. The case concerned a young couple who had recently been married and divorced by the Druze Court of First Instance, which had found both members of the couple equally responsible for the failure of their marriage. Undeterred, the wife and husband have filed separate appeals at the Druze Court of Appeals, but for opposing reasons. The husband has sought to overturn the ruling, which grants ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nadine Naber, "Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism"

[Nadine Naber speaking at the conference

Nadine Naber, Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism. New York: New York University Press (Nation of Newcomers Series), forthcoming in 2012. Jadaliyya: What made you write this book? Nadine Naber: As part of my work in Arab American Studies for the last fifteen years, this book is, in part, an internal critique of my own field and much of my own previous scholarship. Most Arab American Studies research—important and necessary as it is—has taken one of two approaches. First and foremost, there are analyses that interrogate the historically specific and changing effect of US government and media discourses about the Middle East on Arab American lives. This ...

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Bodies Moving to Memory

[Monira Al Qadiri,

antinormanybody. Curated by Barrak Alzaid. Organized with the support of Kleio Projects & International Resource Network. June 23 – August 10, 2011. Kleio Projects: 153½ Stanton Street, New York, NY. I wandered the Lower East Side on a sweaty summer morning in search of Kleio Projects Gallery, curiously located on 153 and a half Stanton Street, feeling like a young Harry Potter on his first visit to King’s Cross Station, trying to find the peculiarly titled Platform 9 3/4. I entered the small, conspicuous gallery after spotting it, feeling disoriented from the heat. I tried to forget about my own uncomfortable body and to take stock of the portraits, both still ...

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Traffic Jam

[Cover of Pardis Mahdavi's book

Pardis Mahdavi, Gridlock: Labor, Migration, and Human Trafficking in Dubai. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011. In the ten years since Bill Clinton signed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) into law, human trafficking has been transformed from a public policy backwater into a critical component piece of national security. At the time, TVPA provided the capstone to a growing international movement dedicated to combating the trade in people. It explicitly criminalized all forms of human trafficking, promised a wealth of tools to remedy the phenomenon, offered abundant resources to protect its victims, and mandated the production of an annual Trafficking ...

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A Poetry of Resistance: The Disappearance of Ayat al-Qormezi in Bahrain's “Hidden History”

[Lulu Square, destroyed. Image from thenational.ae]

After reciting her poetry at Lulu Square where Bahrain’s protests were centered in February and March 2011, twenty-year-old poet Ayat al- Qormezi disappeared. Although al-Qormezi has been reported dead, her death has also been reported to be a rumor. Traces of the square that galvanized demonstrators in Manama became subject to disappearance as well, when Bahraini authorities tried to halt protests by razing the Lulu monument to the ground and destroying the rest of the square. Before Lulu was destroyed, videos showed al- Qormezi on February 23 performing her poems before crowds of protestors applauding her critical verse, sometimes joining in and interrupting her ...

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Essential Readings: Iran

[Image by Farhad Rajabali]

In recent years, there has been a deluge of popular English-language writings by Iranians in exile, as well as hand-wringing public policy books by U.S.-based think tank pundits, all insisting on the same basic message: Iran represents a geo-political problem of unparalleled importance. While the stated goal of these books and organizations is to educate the English-reading global public about Iran, very often the message comes laced with support for militarily enforced regime change and full-scale neo-liberalization. Case in point: the mission statement of the Iran Democracy Project, a well-established California-based think tank, claims that its “central goal is to ...

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Letter from Saudi Citizens Calling on King to Free Manal al-Sharif

[Image from unknown archive.]

[The following letter was issued by a variety of Saudi citizens calling on King Abudllah to free Manal al-Sharif who revlead that she had been driving in the Kingdom (see video here) as part of a larger call for Saudi women to drive themselves on June 17, 2011. As of early morning on Wednesday May 25, 2011, the letter has received over  1100 signatures. The original Arabic version of the letter is reproduced below can be found here. The below English translation is an edited version of the translation found here.] In the name of god, most gracious, most merciful. To the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. Peace and god's blessings be upon you. We the children of ...

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Saudi Women: "I Will Drive Myself Starting June 17"

[Image from unknown archive.]

[The following announcement was originally released in Arabic, and can be found here. Translation by Ziad Abu-Rish and Khuloud.] Us women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are the ones who will lead this society towards change. While we failed to deliver through our voices, we will not fail to deliver through our actions. We have been silent and under the mercy of our guardian (muhram) or foreign driver for too long. Some of us barely make ends meet and cannot even afford cab fare. Some of us are the heads of households yet have no source of income except for a few hard-earned [Saudi] Riyals that are used to pay drivers. Then there are those of us who do not have a muhram ...

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Essential Viewing: Five Tunisian Films from a Postrevolutionary Perspective

[Still from Moufida Tlatli's

It is impossible to watch a Tunisian film today from an exclusively prerevolutionary perspective. The present historical juncture will stealthily thrust itself to center stage. Besides, the value of film does not reside solely in its appropriateness to its own historical moment of production, but equally in its relevance to other, yet to come, historical moments. It becomes highly productive, not to say inevitable, that we rethink postcolonial Tunisian film through the lenses of the revolutionary and now postrevolutionary moment. When we do, it will have become clear that several Tunisian filmmakers had creatively evaded censorship and charted a counterintuitive ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt, Between Nationalism and Women's Rights

Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt, "Between Nationalism and Women's Rights: The Kurdish Women's Movement in Iraq," Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 4.3 (2011): 337-353. Jadaliyya: What made you write this article? Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt: This article is part of a special issue of the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication on contemporary Iraq, which seeks to go beyond the mainstream focus on security issues, elite politics, and oil to understand the political, ...

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Films for the Classroom: Silences of the Palace

Silences of the Palace [Samt al-Qusur], directed by Moufida Tlatli. France/Tunisia, 1994. As a lover of film, I am often asked about my favorites. And as a lover of Arab film in particular, I am usually expected by friends and colleagues to begin with a paean to the Egyptian cinema. Growing up in the home of an Egyptian immigrant to Canada, I was weaned on a steady diet of Fatin Hamama, Rushdy Abaza, and Samia Gamal, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the cinema of the 1950s and the 1960s became a ...

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Kherrberr: The New Lebanese Media Monitor on Gender Discrimination

Kherrberr is a media monitor that specializes in overseeing the different types of gender discrimination, including biases based on color, race, religion, appearance, sexual orientation, and social class.  In Lebanon, women do not have the most basic rights. There is a continued absence of laws that protect them from family violence and they are barred from passing on their Lebanese nationality to their spouses and children. They also remain imprisoned in a regime of physical and gendered ...

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Conference: Activism and the Academy (New York, 23-24 September, 2011)

Activism and the Academy: Celebrating 40 Years of Feminist Scholarship and Action New York City, September 23-24, 2011 A conference in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Barnard Center for Research on Women Forty years ago, the Barnard Center for Research on Women began its mission of using research and knowledge to advance feminist scholarship and long-term partnerships with activist groups. Inspired by the new women’s movement, BCRW became part of an historic moment that witnessed the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Paul Amar, "Middle East Masculinity Studies"

Paul Amar, “Middle East Masculinity Studies: Discourses of ‘Men in Crisis,’ Industries of Gender in Revolution,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 7.3 (Fall 2011): 36-71. Jadaliyya: What made you write this article? Paul Amar: I began drafting this article two years ago in order to seek ways out of the impasse in which the study of sexuality in the Middle East had become trapped. I was asking myself, how do we highlight aspects of coloniality, geopolitics, and power in the study of sexuality, ...

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A Decade Lost: Locating Gender in U.S. Counter-Terrorism

[The following is the latest from the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) on how the U.S. government’s (USG) counter-terrorism efforts profoundly implicate and impact women and sexual minorities.] A Decade Lost: Locating Gender in U.S. Counter-Terrorism Executive Summary “President Obama and I believe that the subjugation of women is a threat to the national security of the United States.” - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, March 2010   “Those subject to gender-based abuses ...

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Gays, islamistas y la primavera arabe; Que haria un revolucionario?

[This article was written in English by Maya Mikdashi and R.M. and translated/published in Spanish by www.rebelion.org] Gays, islamistas y la primavera árabe ¿Qué haría un revolucionario? [Traducción para Rebelión de Loles Oliván] El pasado mes de mayo el blog Una lesbiana en Damasco respondía a un alarmista artículo de primera plana en la BBC International sobre el futuro de los derechos de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales y Transexuales (LGBT) en el ...

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From Dance to Transcendence

Dunia: Kiss Me Not on the Eyes. Directed by Jocelyn Saab. Egypt/Lebanon/France, 2005. It might seem that a dance film about female circumcision can only devolve into a cliché-laden take on an over-exhausted (and over-analyzed) subject, but Dunia: Kiss Me Not on the Eyes manages to encompass both the drama of dance and the complexities of female circumcision without being hijacked by either. Refreshingly, Dunia is less about female circumcision (or khittan, as it is referred to in the film) or rigidly ...

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Letter from Tehran

[This interview was conducted in Tehran by Manijeh Nasrabadi of the Raha Iranian Feminist Collective one year after the green uprising. For more from the Raha Iranian Feminist Collective, see their "Essential Readings: Iran"] On June 12, 2010, the tense one-year anniversary of the post-election uprising that made the color green an international symbol of a people’s democratic aspirations, hundreds of special security forces stood shoulder to shoulder along Tehran’s major boulevards and ...

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Manal al-Sharif: Saudi Woman Drives the Streets of al-Khobar (Video)

The video below shows Manal al-Sharif driving around the streets of al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, while discussing the impact of women's inability to drive in Saudi Arabia. Manal is one of the women who are organizing the call for Saudi women to drive themeselves on June 17 as an act of protest. Click here to read the "I Will Drive Myself" for action. She was recently detained by Saudi authorities for her driving and her related statements. Click here to read the Letter Calling for Release of Manal ...

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Saleh's Speech on Mixing the Sexes and Its Implications

[This post was sent to Jadaliyya by Woman from Yemen.] Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh recently used another political tool to try and suppress the pro-change protests. Like many leaders worldwide, he used "women" as a tool against his opponents. His brief statement on the prohibition of mixing between women and men (English text of President's speech) along with the smear campaigns on national TV against women implies that women in pro-change square are "loose" women. This is a ...

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Narrating the Past, Confronting the Present

The Kingdom of Women: Ein El Hilweh. Directed by Dahna Abourahme. Lebanon, 2010 Could I do today what I was able to do then, questions Nadia, one of the women in Dahna Abourahme’s latest documentary film The Kingdom of Women: Ein El Hilweh. Based on stories of the women of Ein El Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in South Lebanon, between 1982-4 during the Israeli invasion and the imprisonment of the majority of the male population (those between the ages of 14-60), the film is also a reflection on the ...

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