Middle East Studies

Read To Respond: Feminism and Women’s Rights

R2R final logoOur “Read to Respond” series addresses the current climate of misinformation by highlighting articles and books that encourage thoughtful, educated debate on today’s most pressing issues. This post focuses on feminism and women’s rights with articles tackling topics from abortion laws, maternity leave, Islamic feminism, and more. Read, reflect, and share these resources in and out of the classroom to keep these important conversations going.

Feminism and Women’s Rights

These articles are freely available until December 15, 2017. Follow along with the series over the next several months and share your thoughts with #ReadtoRespond.

Recent Issue of Tikkun Addresses the 50th Anniversary of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank

btn_header_tikkun_logoIn the most recent issue of Tikkun, editor Rabbi Michael Lerner and contributors address the Israeli occupation of the West Bank as it reaches its 50th year. “The Occupation At 50” includes an editorial by Rabbi Lerner calling for momentum in the One Person/One Vote movement.

From the editorial:

With sufficient sensitivity, empathy and generosity of spirit, we could accomplish a powerful change of consciousness!

This is the real challenge—not headline grabbing, but the day-to-day, neighborhood and community group organizing around a vision of the world we want, not just what we are against. We at Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives can play our part, but this will take the participation and support of all those who really want to achieve the kind of liberation from Occupation that will benefit the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Jews, and all others on this planet.

In this issue of Tikkun we invited a broad swath of people, including many who disagree with us to our left and to our right, to comment on what the Occupation has meant to them and/or their ideas about how to end it.

The issue includes articles on topics such as:

Browse the table-of-contents to the issue and read Rabbi Lerner’s editorial, made freely available.

Feminist Perspectives on the 2016 Military Coup Attempt and Its Aftermath in Turkey

We are pleased to share this guest blog post by Banu Gökarıksel, co-editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. The most recent issue of the journal, volume 13 and issue 1, features a special forum on Feminist Perspectives on the 2016 Coup Attempt and its Aftermath in Turkey.

ddmew_13_1Feminist critiques of political power reveal the central function of gender, sexuality, and difference in maintaining that power. Yet, in current events, a feminist geopolitics is rarely considered and has been absent from analysis of the 2016 coup attempt and its aftermath in Turkey. Much more than tallying the number of women who participated in protesting against the coup, a feminist approach reveals the ways in which the coup attempt (and responses to it) in Turkey relied on the exercise of masculine discursive and material power (Gökarıksel 2017). Violence was both engineered by a powerful institution, the Turkish military, as well as opposed by the political power of the AKP backed by other state institutions such as the police and gendarme. Both coup plotters and their opponents played a significant role in constructing and symbolizing normative masculinity and heterosexuality (Arat 2017). The eruption of violence reinforced the hegemonic relationship between the military, the state, and the nation (Açıksöz 2017; Korkman 2017).

Feminist critique reveals that under President Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership, the AKP government has taken increasingly repressive and alarmingly authoritarian measures against minorities, women, and girls (Arat 2017), and has galvanized a populist nationalist masculinity that Erdoğan himself embodies. The crowds of civilian men, police officers, and anti-coup soldiers who fought against the putschists, sometimes without any weapons, also legitimate and embolden a nationalist masculinity built on religious and social conservatism and populism.

The stepping up of its war against the Kurds is part of the government’s attempt to reestablish its nationalist and patriarchal power. Despite the magnitude of horror and human cost of this war, it could be thought in connection to a regulation for the chemical castration of sex offenders (Korkman 2017) and the ‘rape’ bill proposal introduced in November 2016 (that would have absolved rapists who marry their victims under 18 years of age from any criminal punishment but met with huge demonstrations and did not secure enough votes to pass). Without attending to the bolstering of this masculinist power in the streets and in government, analysts miss a crucial dimension of how a political environment of fear and intimidation has been legitimated and how violence and militarization have recast Turkish subjects.

The coup attempt on 15 July 2016 was unexpected but not entirely surprising given Turkey’s history. What was surprising was what happened afterwards. Following Erdoğan’s call to defend democracy over a FaceTime call broadcast live on television and constant prayer calls from minarets, people in huge numbers poured out to the streets, breaking the curfew. Although some women were present (Akınerdem 2017; Başdaş 2017), the overwhelming majority were men. The civilian men joined the police and anti-coup soldiers to fight against the putchists. Waving Turkish flags and shouting “Ya Allah, Bismillah, Allahuekber”, they attacked soldiers and tanks.

By the following morning it was clear that the coup attempt had failed. 241 people were killed and more than two thousand were injured during the coup. Crowds came out to occupy public squares to celebrate the defeat of the putschists in ‘democracy vigil’s that continued for weeks (Açıkerdem 2017). Some of the people who attended these democracy vigils did not seem to fully support democratic ideals and norms, asking for the immediate hanging of all the putschists (Başdaş 2017) and declaring unconditional loyalty to Erdoğan’s leadership.

The Turkish government’s reaction to the coup attempt has also been to the detriment of an already deteriorating democratic environment in which freedoms and rights of most citizens, mostly importantly of women and minorities have been increasingly restricted. Initiating a familiar re-militarization of society (Açıksöz 2017), the AKP government quickly and violently acted to restore its masculinist power, repressing any expression of difference from its normative Turkish citizenship. It declared a state of emergency which persists and strengthened its grip on power through arrests, purges, travel bans, and property seizures. The initial targets expanded from coup plotters, supporters, and anyone associated with Fethullah Gülen’s hizmet movement, which the government alleges masterminded the coup, to all critics of government policies, especially its war against the Kurds. Hundreds have been detained or arrested; thousands have been fired from their jobs or forced to resign; over one hundred media outlets have been closed down since July. Academics who signed a peace petition, journalists who wrote anything critical of the government continue to become targets as late as February 2017.

The coup attempt and the AKP’s response to it are manifestations of masculinist political power. The aggressive, violent masculinities that the coup attempt and its aftermath bolstered constitute the architecture of a security state. Political power is never gender-neutral but works through gendered and sexual production of bodies that belong and that do not, that need protection and that are threats, and through the gendered and sexual construction of borders and territory. A feminist critique provides insights into the production of an environment of increasing consolidation of masculinist power, rhetoric of national unity, violence, and militarism (Açıksöz 2017; Akınerdem 2017; Arat 2017; Başdaş 2017; Gökarıksel 2017; Korkman 2017). But it also shows the possibilities for building solidarities and working towards a different future built on pluralism, non-violence, and peace.

Read the Special Forum: Feminist Perspectives on the 2016 Coup Attempt and its Aftermath in Turkey here.

Recent Journal Issues on Gender, Violence, War, and Religion

The intersection between gender, violence, war, religion, and race are featured in several recent special issues of Radical History ReviewSocial Text, and the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. Read more about the issues featured and sample several articles made freely available.

ddrhr_126In bringing together a geographically and temporally broad range of interdisciplinary historical scholarship, “Reconsidering Gender, Violence, and the State,” a special issue of Radical History Review, offers an expansive examination of gender, violence, and the state. Through analyses of New York penitentiaries, anarchists in early twentieth-century Japan, and militarism in the 1990s, contributors reconsider how historical conceptions of masculinity and femininity inform the persistence of and punishments for gendered violence. The contributors to a section on violence and activism challenge the efficacy of state solutions to gendered violence in a contemporary US context, highlighting alternatives posited by radical feminist and queer activists. In five case studies drawn from South Africa, India, Ireland, East Asia, and Nigeria, contributors analyze the archive’s role in shaping current attitudes toward gender, violence, and the state, as well as its lasting imprint on future quests for restitution or reconciliation. This issue also features a visual essay on the “false positives” killings in Colombia and an exploration of Zanale Muholi’s postapartheid activist photographyRead the introduction, made freely available.

stx129covprintIn “Race/Religion/War,” a special issue of Social Text edited by Keith P. Feldman and Leerom Medovoi, contributors query long-standing entanglements among the respective epistemologies of race, religion, and war as they organize modern strategies of knowledge and power. They investigate how a logic of permanent warfare underwrites both the international intensification of Islamophobia and the emergence and deployment of an expanding set of security apparatuses whose categorical, geographic, and historical permeability define warfare as radically open-ended. At the same time, the issue seeks to draw attention to long genealogies of race, religion, and war that both contextualize their contemporary braiding and offer political countermemories against which we can make sense of our baleful present.

Drawing on diverse critical traditions, its contributors raise questions such as: What is the relationship of the race/religion/war triad to the modern history of the militarized state? How have certain forms of war-making produced some kinds of race-making or religion-formation, while perhaps unmaking others? Does racial modernity emerge out of the secularization of religious war? How are the religious and racial dimensions of modern colonialism and settler colonialism co-articulated? Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

ddmew_12_3In the most recent issue of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, “The Gender and Sexuality of Militarization and War,” contributors focus on the gender and sexuality of militarization, war, and violence. Topics include the gendered representations of violence during and after the 2011 revolutions in Syria and Egypt and how they have impacted men and women, reading Israeli, Iraqi, and Yemeni literature to understand fraught and often violent relationships between Jews and Israelis and Muslims and Arabs, and examining the meanings attached to women’s performance of identity, citizenship, and political agency in Turkey in the early twenty-first century.

From the preface by feminist scholar Cynthia Enloe:

These researchers reveal the diversity of women’s experiences, imaginations, images, and political analyses both within a single country, such as Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, or Syria, and also across the region.Women are not “just women.” These articles also underscore the interactions of diverse women, historically and socially situated women, with the diverse men of their communities, men who have been both perpetrators and targets of sexualized and unsexualized violence and who are trying to make their own sense of their roles in that violence. Reading these articles together helps us all, I think, understand how crucial it is to absorb complexities when plunging into the gendered lives of women and men making their lives in militarized societies. This is what the Syrian women civil society activists are calling on the men in Geneva to do. This is what they, together with the authors of these provocative articles, are calling on each of us to do.

Read Edith Szanto’s article from the issue, “Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising,” made freely available.

 

An Interview with Timothy Mitchell, co-editor of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East

In early December, the editorial collective of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East gathered for their quarterly meeting at Columbia University. The journal’s managing editor, Liz Beasley, attended the meeting and spoke with Timothy Mitchell, who co-edits the journal with Anupama Rao, about his role as senior editor over the past five years.

Tell us a bit about CSSAAME. How has the journal changed since the time you took over five years ago?

ddcsa_34_3It’s an unusual journal, because it’s neither the journal of one region—it’s not a journal of Middle East studies, of African history, or of any single world region. But nor is it simply a journal of transnational studies or of the global South. It has a focus on three intersecting world regions, and we’ve tried to make that not just an accident of the title but something that defines the work it publishes. Most work we publish focuses on just one of those three regions, but we want it to be read by scholars of the other two regions—that’s something we’ve really tried to emphasize in the kind of scholarship we look for. When we get submissions that don’t do that explicitly, we try to get those submissions rewritten in such a way that, while they will still appeal to specialists of the history or the politics or the anthropology of a particular place, they will be accessible also to those who work on one of our other two regions.

We do also encourage some more specifically comparative work. We have a book review section called Kitabkhana, which usually takes a single book, or a pair of books, and includes reviewers who are from all three regions.

Kitabkhana is a new section since you’ve taken over the journal, because before it was individual book reviews.

Yes, it had a conventional book review section before. We wanted to do something different. There are many good journals that do book reviews, but we felt what we could do differently was review from the perspective of both specialists in the region that the book deals with and those who are just outside and on the borders of that region.

How does the editorial collective function?

Like certain other journals, CSSAAME is edited from a particular geographic and some extent intellectual location. We’re based at Columbia University. Not every member of the editorial board—currently there are nine members—is from the faculty of Columbia, though the majority are. And so the editorial spirit of the journal is a reflection of the intellectual community within and beyond Columbia. Some members of the collective are based elsewhere, some move between Columbia and research centers on other continents. And our contributing editors and our authors write from many parts of the world. I think the two work together symbiotically—the intellectual community in New York, which is composed of scholars who meet regularly and continue conversations across a variety of forms, and a journal that engages with scholars and ideas across multiple locations around the world. We’re trying to see how the two can develop together.

Other journals—and other Duke journals, for example—do a similar kind of thing, and have a strong base in a particular intellectual community. That’s not the way every journal should be—there are other journals that have no specific geographical location in their editorial boards. But our base in New York does give us opportunities to have conversations that extend beyond the editorial meetings and get reflected back into the pages of CSSAAME.

And Anupama Rao, CSSAAME‘s other co-editor, is here as well.

It’s fortunate that we have offices in adjacent buildings—I think it really helps on a practical level to be colleagues in the same institution and be involved in many other intellectual projects together. Of course it helps that she’s so smart, has a wonderful knowledge of scholarship across so many fields, and has a fantastic sense of what’s new and what’s interesting.

Are there any upcoming special sections that you would like to tell us about? And of all the things we’ve published in the past five years, is there anything that really stands out to you? Any work that you thought was doing something especially important?

That’s a tough one—I really don’t want to pick favorites. It’s actually another answer to your question about what we’ve tried to do differently. The other thing we’ve tried to do is publish work other than the standard academic article. So we’ve done a number of interviews—some of them have been wonderfully insightful discussions, and even historical documents. The interview that Fadi Bardawil did with Talal Asad in our pages [volume 36, issue 1] has been very widely read.

And we’ve staged discussions: there’s one that we’re in the process of publishing that came out of an essay by Partha Chatterjee that appeared in the “Provocations” section of 36:2. We invited responses to the essay, and being able to think about debates that we were interested in hearing and organizing has been a feature of what we’ve tried to do. In some ways I’m keenest about some of those things, but I don’t in any way want to slight the very serious, more conventional academic articles.

Something that is not new or particularly distinctive to the journal has turned into a very important aspect of it: most of what we publish is organized thematically, with each issue having two or three special sections. Often these arise from workshops, conference panels, or symposia that we are involved in, or hear about, or that others bring to us. We won’t ever just take the papers from a conference panel and publish them as they are. We do a lot of work continuing to develop the ideas that make the papers hang together. We’ll sometimes suggest other papers to add to a special section. That ability to do collective work, work that forms a section where the papers are speaking to each other, and not just to scholarship to the field in general, is something you can really work on in editing the journal. We are developing a conversation even through the editorial process, in the process of revision, comment, and re-revision, so that publishing is not just something that you do at the end of things. It is a process that develops the quality of the scholarship.

Do you have specific thoughts about where you want to take the journal from here? I know that the editorial collective works to pull together ideas as a group and has just discussed a potentially divisive book for a Kitabkhana, for instance. Are you looking for more controversy?

One of the directions in which we’ve tried to take the journal is to think about scholarship after area studies. Another way of putting it is what I said earlier, that this is post–area studies journal but one that hasn’t abandoned the advantages of regional specialization and specialist readership. It’s trying to continue to develop scholarship that is written from a knowledge of languages, of histories, of cultures in a specialized way but finds a way to speak to a much broader audience, to make this a journal that scholars of Europe or Latin American or East Asian history and culture would want to read as well. That’s something we want to continue to develop.

People reading this post may be thinking about sending their work to us. What are you looking for in submissions? You’ve already mentioned that you want to appeal to nonspecialists. By the same token, is there anything you do not want?

We look for a certain kind of academic writing. As editors we work hard with authors on producing a readable academic prose. Other journals do this, too, but it’s something that we’ve tried to make a hallmark of the journal. In submissions, although we’ll work with authors to revise toward the kind of writing we want—focusing on the readability of the text, the freshness of the prose—it’s something we encourage authors to pay attention to. Some of it is the business of avoiding jargon, cliché, and terms that have become used in a specific way that will not make the article easily reach a wider audience. As we’re doing this to get scholarship read outside of the narrow fields in which it would otherwise be read, we take the level of the writing seriously.

Is there any particular field or area in which you’d like to receive submissions? Anu had mentioned that she thinks we’re being known as a history journal and perhaps wanted to bring in anthropologists and others to contribute.

We get some great submissions from anthropologists, and we’d like to have more. But I’d say the field we would encourage even more than that is literature—work on contemporary or historical literature of the Middle East, South Asia, or Africa. Again, if it fits the larger mission of the journal, I think we’d really like to do more of that.

And much of that is outlined in the Mission Statement from your first issue as editors.

Yes. We’ve published one or two pieces that have been about the history of ideas and intellectual and political debates going on in particular parts of the region, like the piece we did on the Arab Left and Palestine [Anaheed Al-Hardan’s essay “Al-Nakbah in Arab Thought: The Transformation of a Concept” from 35:3]. But we’re also interested in current contributions to ongoing political debates and cultural arguments.

Another thing we’ve changed in the journal is the cover, introducing new artwork by artists from the three regions in every volume. In one case so far, we’ve accompanied that with a symposium with the artist. So Shahzia Sikander’s work appeared on the covers of volume 34, and we were able to publish an extended conversation about her work in volume 35.

That kind of engagement with contemporary cultural production, artists working today whose work we can publish, if we can do photo essays or interviews that bring in aspects of contemporary cultural movements and visual culture—we’d love to do more of that. We really are a very interdisciplinary journal. The majority of what we publish tends to be historical scholarship, work on the visual arts, or politics, literature, intellectual thought—all of those fields are part of the scope of the journal.

Interested in submitting your work to CSSAAME? Visit the journal’s Editorial Manager siteStay connected! Read CSSAAME, follow the journal on Facebook, and sign up for electronic table-of-contents alerts delivered directly to your inbox when a new issue is published.

Bodies, Space, and Feminism in the Arab World

978-0-8223-6241-8-with-ruleAs the 2011 uprisings in North Africa reverberated across the Middle East, a diverse cross section of women and girls publicly disputed gender and sexual norms in novel, unauthorized, and often shocking ways. In a series of case studies ranging from Tunisia’s 14 January Revolution to the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, the contributors to Freedom without Permission, edited by Frances S. Hasso and Zakia Salime, reveal the centrality of the intersections between body, gender, sexuality, and space to these groundbreaking events.

Essays include discussions of the blogs written by young women in Egypt, the Women2Drive campaign in Saudi Arabia, the reintegration of women into the public sphere in Yemen, the sexualization of female protesters encamped at Bahrain’s Pearl Roundabout, and the embodied, performative, and artistic spaces of Morocco’s 20 February Movement.

Conceiving of revolution as affective, embodied, spatialized, and aesthetic forms of upheaval and transgression, the contributors to Freedom without Permission show how women activists imagined, inhabited, and deployed new spatial arrangements that undermined the public-private divisions of spaces, bodies, and social relations, continuously transforming them through symbolic and embodied transgressions.

ddcsa_35_3Hasso and Salime join other scholars in the special forum “The Politics of Feminist Politics,” published in a recent issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East (volume 35, issue 3), to explore further the vexed political terrain of feminism in the twenty-first century.

The essays in this forum span a wide range of sites in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. “Scandals of Seduction and the Seductions of Scandal” investigates violence, Muslim women, and legal judgments on rape in Bangladesh, while “Reading Malala” looks at girls’ rights through a close reading of the 2013 memoir I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. The issue also features examinations of the First Ladies in the neoliberal Arab world, specifically Queen Rania of Jordan and Asma al-Assad of Syria; body politics and revolution in Tunisia and Egypt; the Personal Status Code and the precarious status of women’s rights in Syria; the participation of women in popular Islamist movements such as the Tunisian Resistance Movement (Ennahda) in the aftermath of the Arab Spring; and power, policing, and the sexed body in post-2011 Tahrir.

As Lila Abu-Lughod writes in her introduction, “These essays track the everyday languages and institutions of governance, policing, and morality by working carefully through such diverse fields as legal cases and legal reasoning, histories of education, dynamics of marriage, arts of linguistic transformation, politics of religious argument, legitimations of state power, and political economies of labor and housing.”

Read the special forum, made freely available, and save 30% when ordering Freedom without Permission from us with coupon code E16FREED.

New Books in September

It’s finally September, and we’re just as excited for the start of the school year as you are. Add these great titles, coming out this month, to your fall reading list:

Cultural Studies 1983With the publication of Cultural Studies 1983 we launch our new series Stuart Hall: Selected Writings. A touchstone event in the history of Cultural Studies, the book is a testament to Stuart Hall’s unparalleled contributions. Unavailable until now, these eight foundational lectures present Hall’s original engagements with the theoretical positions that contributed to the formation of Cultural Studies.

No Tea, No Shade, edited by E. Patrick Johnson, follows up the groundbreaking Black Queer Studies by bringing together nineteen essays on black gender and sexuality. Topics include “raw” sex, pornography, the carceral state, gentrification, gender nonconformity, social media, the relationship between black feminist studies and black trans studies, the black queer experience throughout the black diaspora, and queer music, film, dance, and theater.

Life and Death on the New York Dance FloorAs the 1970s gave way to the ’80s, New York’s party scene entered a ferociously inventive period characterized by its creativity, intensity, and hybridity. Tim Lawrence chronicles this tumultuous time in Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, charting the sonic and social eruptions that took place in the city’s subterranean party venues as well as the way they cultivated breakthrough movements in art, performance, video, and film.

Focusing on artwork by Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and Piero Manzoni, Jaleh Mansoor demonstrates in Marshall Plan Modernism how abstract painting, especially the monochrome, broke with fascist-associated futurism and functioned as an index of social transition in postwar Italy.

GeontologiesIn Geontologies, Elizabeth A. Povinelli continues her project of mapping the current conditions of late liberalism by offering a bold retheorization of power. Finding Foucauldian biopolitics unable to adequately reveal contemporary mechanisms of power and governance, Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower.

As the 2011 uprisings in North Africa reverberated across the Middle East, a diverse cross section of women and girls publicly disputed gender and sexual norms. In a series of case studies ranging from Tunisia’s 14 January Revolution to the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, the contributors to Freedom without Permission, edited by Frances S. Hasso and Zakia Salime, reveal the centrality of the intersections between body, gender, sexuality, and space to these groundbreaking events.

Love, HLove, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones is a remarkable selection from a forty-year correspondence between two artists who survived their time as wives in the Beat bohemia of the 1960s and went on to successful artistic careers of their own. Revealing the intimacy of lifelong friends, these letters tell two stories from the shared point of view of women who refused to go along with society’s expectations.

One of the classics of twentieth-century Marxism, Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks contains a rich and nuanced theorization of class that provides insights that extend far beyond economic inequality. In Gramsci’s Common Sense, Kate Crehan provides an overview of Gramsci’s notions of subalternity, intellectuals, and common sense, putting them in relation to the work of thinkers such as Bourdieu, Arendt, Spivak, and Said.

Only the RoadFeaturing the work of more than fifty poets writing across the last eight decades, Only the Road / Solo el Camino is the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership. The collection, edited by Margaret Randall, is distinguished by its stylistic breadth and the diversity of its contributors, who come from throughout Cuba and its diaspora and include luminaries, lesser-known voices, and several Afro-Cuban and LGBTQ poets.

Reprinted in paperback, Songs of the Unsung is the autobiography of Los Angeles jazz musician and activist Horace Tapscott (1934–1999). It is the story of Los Angeles’s cultural and political evolution over the last half of the twentieth century, of the origins of many of the most important avant-garde musicians still on the scene today, and of a rich and varied body of music.

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Everyday Intimacies of the Middle East

ddmew_12_2Everyday Intimacies of the Middle East,” the most recent issue of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, provides an area-studies perspective on intimacy and explores the analytic, theoretical, and political work that intimacy promises as a concept. The contributors explore how multiple domains and forms of intimacies are defined and transformed across the cultural and social worlds of the Middle East, looking in particular at Egypt, Turkey, and Israel. Focusing on everyday constructions of intimacies, the contributors engage with questions about how we should calibrate the evolving nature of intimacy in times of rapid transition, what intimacy means for individual and social lives, and what social, political, and economic possibilities intimacy creates.

Each article in “Everyday Intimacies of the Middle East” presents a context-specific discussion of how legal, economic, and political regulations and practices promote a social environment in which certain intimacies are stigmatized, sanctioned, or dissolved while others are encouraged. Topics include physical exercise, Turkish beauty salons, transnational surrogacy arrangements, gender reassignment, and coffee shops as intimate spaces for men outside the family.

Read the introduction, made freely available.

New Books in September

Here we finally are in September, which always means a welcome reprieve from the sticky summer heat, as well as a healthy roster of forthcoming books. These are the titles to keep an eye out for this month:

McCracken cover image, 5936-4Allison McCracken’s book,  Real Men Don’t Sing: Crooning in American Culture, charts the rise and fall of crooners between 1925 and 1934, showing how the backlash against crooners’ perceived sexual and gender deviance created stylistically masculine norms for white male pop singers that continue to exist today.

In The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary, Kimberly Juanita Brown explores the literary and visual representations of how black women bear the marks of slavery, centers black women in narratives of slavery, and uncovers and critiques the refusal to see the violence done to black women’s bodies.

Lewis cover image, 5934-0In Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures, Reina Lewis analyzes Muslim modest clothing as fashion and shows how young Muslim women (with a focus on Britain, North America, and Turkey) are part of an emergent transnational youth subculture who use fashion to negotiate religion, identity, ethnicity, and mainstream consumer culture.

Rachel Hall characterizes post-9/11 airport security practices in The Transparent Traveler: The Performance and Culture of Airport Security as operating under the “aesthetics of transparency,” which requires passengers to perform innocence and be open to inspection—those who cannot are deemed opaque and presumed to be a threat. Travelers are no longer innocent until proven guilty; they are guilty until proven transparent.

Anthes cover image, 5994-4In Edgar Heap of Birds, the first book-length study of contemporary Native American artist Edgar Heap of Birds, Bill Anthes analyzes Heap of Bird’s art and politics in relation to Native American history, spirituality, and culture, the international art scene, and how his art critiques the subjugation of Native Americans.

Petra R. Rivera-Rideau shows in Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico how the popular music style reggaetón offers a space for Puerto Rican musicians to express identities that center blackness, forge links across the African diaspora, and critique the popular Puerto Rican discourse of racial democracy, which conceals racism and marginalizes black Puerto Ricans.

In Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of BlacknessSimone Browne shows how racial ideologies and the long history of policing black bodies under transatlantic slavery structure contemporary surveillance technologies and practices. Analyzing a wide array of archival and contemporary texts, she demonstrates how surveillance reifies boundaries, borders, and bodies around racial lines.

Anzaldua cover image, 6009-4Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro is the culmination of Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s mature thought and the most comprehensive presentation of her philosophy. Focusing on aesthetics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics, it contains several developments in her many important theoretical contributions.

Mayra Rivera outlines the relationship between the ways ancient Christian thinkers and Western philosophers conceive of the “body” and “flesh” in Poetics of the Flesh. Rivera’s analysis furthers developments in new materialism and helps us to better understand the influence of Christian texts on contemporary theorizations of social structure, gender, race, and faith.

Project on Vegas, 5967-8In Strip Cultures: Finding America in Las VegasThe Project on Vegas shows how the Las Vegas Strip concentrates and magnifies American culture’s core truths. Among others, the Strip’s buffets, surveillance, large scale branding and consumption, and transformation of nature reflects larger trends and practices throughout America. Includes over 100 photographs by Karen Klugman.

In Pipe Politics, Contested Waters, Lisa Björkman explores why water is chronically unavailable in Mumbai, India’s economic and financial capital. She attributes water shortage to economic reforms that allowed urban development to ignore the water infrastructure, which means that in Mumbai, politics is often about water.

Corbett cover image, 5870-1Microgroove continues John Corbett’s exploration of diverse musics, with essays, interviews, and musician profiles that focus on jazz, improvised music, contemporary classical, rock, folk, blues, post-punk, and cartoon music, as well as painting, design, dance, and poetry.

An Introduction to the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies

JMEWS 11_1In this guest post written by Frances S. Hasso on behalf of the co-editors of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, we learn more about the aesthetic changes undertaken during the transition to Duke University Press, both inside and outside the journal.

As the Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill team (miriam cooke, Banu Gökarıksel, and Frances Hasso) took over editorial responsibilities for the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies in spring 2014, we discussed ways to build on a 10-year strong publishing project that charted a pathway for gender and sexuality scholarship on the Middle East and North Africa. We decided that the skill, creativity, resources and dedication offered by the journal’s new publisher, Duke University Press, allows us to experiment with aesthetics inside and outside the journal. As part of this direction, each volume will highlight the ouevre of an artist whose work speaks to the concerns of the journal. In choosing images, we are interested in non-representational conceptually evocative art.

In 2015, each cover design of a JMEWS issue includes an image from a work by the Iraqi artist Havy Kahraman. The first issue, 11:1, also has a short essay by Kahraman that among other things meditates on the waraq (deck of cards) series from which the image on the cover emerges. Striking to us as well was an image of a cow skin on a palette. The skin was later used by Kahraman in an art installation. The cow skin on the palette image is part of the 11:2 cover designed by Sue Hall. In summer 2014 when we chose the image, the starkness of the cow skin evoked the grimness of tumult and violence in parts of the region. Issue 11:2 will include a short concept note by Kahraman on the skin installation and a brief glossing on the image by Frances Hasso in light of the articles published, all of which seemed to speak to “skin” in different ways. These changes in the journal are part of an emergent dialogic process between words and aesthetics that produce journal issues composed of digital parts, certainly, but also wholes that are wonderful to touch, read, and share in paper.

Another change is the addition of a new section called “Third Space.” The idea is to offer a forum for short intellectual, activist, and artistic interventions by academics and non-academics—an open meeting space for images and writings of between 500 and 2,000 words. Each year, Third Space will also include the results of an editorial initiative. In 2015, Third Space includes solicited entries from autonomous “Feminist Formations” throughout the region whose activists were asked to discuss their own priorities and challenges in the current historical moment. A total of 14 of these illuminating entries are published in issues 11:1 and 11:2 of JMEWS. We plan to publish at least seven more Feminist Formation entries in 11:3. It has been rewarding to work with activists with significant stakes in their own societies and to glimpse their work and challenges, from Morocco to Iran.

The Third Space initiative for 2016 (vol. 12) is “The Languages of Gender and Sexuality.” For this project, activists and academics are invited to submit analytical entries of 500 to 1,000 words that consider regional debates around, and implications of, the words used for sexual difference in non-English languages and contexts, including the problematics of translation. As with all aspects of JMEWS, we hope this initiative is informative and productive for new thinking and connections across various divides.

For the next three months, the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies will be freely available at jmews.dukejournals.org. The journal will also be available on Project MuseTo subscribe or learn more about submissions, visit dukeupress.edu/jmews.