Event date: Wednesday 7th October 15:30 – 17:00pm
Room 254 Birkbeck Main Building
Nadje Al-Ali – What kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq
In the run-up to war in Iraq, the Bush administration assured the world that America’s interest was in liberation-especially for women. In this talk Nadje Al-Ali explores the situation of women women have fared since the invasion by contextualising the contemporary in historical perspective. This talk exposes the gap between rhetoric that placed women center stage and the present reality of their diminishing roles in the “new Iraq.” Based on interviews with Iraqi women’s rights activists, international policy makers, and NGO workers and illustrated with photographs taken by Iraqi women, Al-Ali corrects the widespread view that the country’s violence, sectarianism, and systematic erosion of women’s rights come from something inherent in Muslim, Middle Eastern, or Iraqi culture. She also demonstrate how in spite of competing political agendas, Iraqi women activists are resolutely pressing to be part of the political transition, reconstruction, and shaping of the new Iraq.
Nadje Al-Ali is Reader in Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies, at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her main research interests revolve around gender theory; feminist activism; women and gender in the Middle East; transnational migration and diaspora moblization; war, conflict and reconstruction. Her publications include What kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (2009, University of California Press, co-authored with Nicola Pratt); Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present (2007, Zed Books); New Approaches to Migration (ed., Routledge, 2002, with Khalid Koser); Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press 2000) and Gender Writing – Writing Gender (The American University in Cairo Press, 1994) as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles. Her forthcoming book (co-edited with Nicola Pratt) is entitled Women and War in the Middle East: Transnational Perspectives (Zed Books, 2009). She is a founding member of Act Together: Women’s Action for Iraq. (www.acttogether.org) and a member of Women in Black UK.