Podcast Tip: Gender, Governance, and Islam

One for Week 8, an excellent podcast discussion with Professor Nadje Al-Ali, (Watson Institute, Brown University), and a regular on our reading list:

In the podcast, Professor Al-Ali talks about her new book, co-edited with Deniz Kandiyoti and Kathryn Spellman Poots, Gender, Islam & Governance (2019), as well as the deeper issues affecting gender and area studies:

If you want to understand the level of authoritarianism or the level of democracy, the politics of gender is not a side issue. It’s central to it. Often, mainstream political scientists, international relations scholars, or even area studies scholars, they think about women and gender issues as a side issue to the big issues of political transition, democracy, authoritarianism.

You don’t need to be an academic to see when you look at what’s been unfolding, especially since 2011 in terms of the various protest movements in the region, that when it comes to women, men, sexuality, this has been actually a central component of challenging previous regimes, but also has been a central component of regimes trying to control their populations. How does a regime try to crack down on a protest movement? By controlling women’s mobility. By sexual harassing women and telling them, ‘your place is not on the street’.

[‘Gender, Governance, and Islam’ with Nadje Al-Ali’, interview by Sarah Baldwin.]

The volume includes a collection of chapters that are relevant to not only Week 8, but Weeks 4, 7, and 9 (and more), including research by Islah Jad, (‘Palestine: Gender in an Imagined Fragmented Sovereignty’), Al-Ali (‘Iraq: Gendering Violence, Sectarianisms and Authoritarianism’), and Afiya Shehrbano Zia (‘Defiance not Subservience: New Directions in the Pakistani Women’s Movement’), among others.

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Reading: Lebanon’s militarized masculinity, by Joey Ayoub

One for Week 5 (or Week 2), Joey Ayoub’s Lebanon’s militarized masculinity provides a comprehensive and insightful reflection on masculinities, gender, and sexuality in Lebanon.

Through the piece, Ayoub considers the ways that masculinity has unfolded since the Lebanese Civil War, as well as the questions that surround the study of Lebanese masculinity, including:

Does ‘Lebanese’ include only those lucky enough to get the difficult-to-obtain citizenship, itself often a sectarian calculation? Do studies exclude, for example, Syrian and Palestinian refugee men who have been in Lebanon for several years? What about those who are half-Lebanese, half-Palestinian, or those who have a non-Lebanese father and a Lebanese mother, and therefore don’t have the citizenship? Does the topic pre-suppose a cis and heterosexual subject? 

[Source]

Working as both a primer for the nuances of post-war society and a profound consideration of race, LGBTQ+ rights, socio-economic issues, gender equality, and the Kafala (sponsorship) system, the article also offers paths to research the topic further, via the works of Fatima Sbaity Kassem, Najib Hourani, and Sune Haugbolle.

For more pieces by Ayoub, follow his blog, Hummus for Thought, here.

CfP: Women and Gender Studies in the Middle East

This time a call for papers, for submission towards the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS) inaugural conference, Women and Gender Studies in the Middle East, which will be held in Beirut in March 2021.

The thematic focus is broad, and submissions are welcomed from fields such as politics, economics, history, sexualities, culture, arts, and digital humanities, among others.

The deadline for abstracts is October 30, 2019, and submissions must be 250 words, follow the template outlined in the call, and include a reflection on “why you believe this is a pressing topic”.

For more on AMEWS, and their publication, the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, visit their latest issue, Generations, here.