This talk will address gender as a central analytical concept in understanding contemporary processes and developments in the Middle East, and ask what feminist scholarship has contributed to our understanding of developments in the region. In this context, it will pay particular attention to protest movements, increasing authoritarianism and sectarian/ethnic politics. Based on ethnographic research in the contexts of Egypt, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon, Nadje Al-Ali will discuss the significance of body politics and the wider politics of gender as a litmus test for assessing regimes and social contexts.
About the speaker
Nadje Al-Ali is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Brown, where she is also Robert Family Professor of International Studies and Professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies. Her main research interests revolve around feminist activism and gendered mobilization, mainly with reference to Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and the Kurdish political movement. Her publications include What kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (2009, University of California Press, co-authored with Nicola Pratt); Women and War in the Middle East: Transnational Perspectives (Zed Books, 2009, co-edited with Nicola Pratt); Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present (2007, Zed Books), and Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press 2000. Her co-edited book with Deborah al-Najjar entitled We are Iraqis: Aesthetics & Politics in a Time of War (Syracuse University Press) won the 2014 Arab-American book prize for non-fiction. Her most recent publication is a co-edited book (jointly with Deniz Kandiyoti and Kathryn Spellman Poots) entitled Gender, Governance & Islam (University of Edinburgh Press, 2019). Professor Al-Ali is on the advisory board of kohl: a journal of body and gender research and has been involved in several feminist organizations and campaigns transnationally.