Middle East Studies

Decolonizing Sex and Sexuality

coverimage (1)The most recent issue of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, “Decolonizing Sex and Sexuality,” edited by Jarrod Hayes, is now available.

The title of this themed issue uses the term decolonization to refer to the work of producing sexuality and feminist scholarship and theory focused on the specificities of the region. The issue features articles that challenge dominant notions of decolonization and postcoloniality in relation to sex, sexuality, and feminism. Specifically, the articles critically engage with scholarship and theory from the metropole, examine un- and underexplored territory, including non-normative and non-conforming embodiments and life, and address novel or taken-for-granted questions, such as how to define queer and feminist.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

We also recommend the following books for further reading on body, sexuality, and resistance.

978-0-8223-6918-9In The Right to Maim, Jasbir Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Using the concept of “debility”—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability, she shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations.

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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 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 Hasso and Zakia Salime, reveal the centrality of the intersections between body, gender, sexuality, and space to these groundbreaking events.

Focusing on political movements and cultural practices in different global locations, including Turkey, Palestine, France, and the former Yugoslavia, the contributors to Vulnerability in Resistance, edited by Judith Butler, Zeynep Gambetti, and Leticia Sabsay, articulate an understanding of the role of vulnerability in practices of resistance. Pointing to possible strategies for a feminist politics of transversal engagements and suggesting a politics of bodily resistance that does not disavow forms of vulnerability, the contributors develop a new conception of embodiment and sociality within fields of contemporary power.

New Books in June

We wrap up our Spring 2018 season with some great books this month.

978-0-8223-7152-6.jpgFrom Andean antiquity and Spanish colonialism to the present, the latest addition to our Latin America Readers series, The Bolivia Reader provides a panoramic view of Bolivia’s history, culture, and politics through a wide ranging collection of sources, most of which appear here in English for the first time.

Derek P. McCormack’s Atmospheric Things analyzes artistic, political, and technological uses of the balloon to show how its properties and capacities are central to understanding how we sense, perceive, and modify meteorological and affective atmospheres as well as the force of the atmosphere in modern life.

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First appearing in 1964, and long since out of print, Stuart Hall and Paddy Whannel’s landmark book The Popular Arts takes seriously the importance of studying popular culture, thereby opening up an almost unprecedented field of analysis of everything from film, pulp crime novels, and jazz to television and advertising. This edition also includes a new introduction by Richard Dyer, who contextualizes The Popular Arts within the history of cultural studies and outlines its impact and enduring legacy.

In What Does It Mean to Be Post-Soviet Madina Tlostanova traces how contemporary post-Soviet art mediates the post-Soviet human condition through analyses of art and through interviews with artists and writers, showing the important role that radical art plays in building new modes of thought and a decolonial future.

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Featuring 270 full color images, Victorian Jamaica, edited by Tim Barringer and Wayne Modest, explores the extraordinary archive of visual representation and material objects to provide a comprehensive and pluralistic account of Jamaican society during Queen Victoria’s reign, thereby expanding our understanding of the wider history of the British Empire and Atlantic world during this period.

In Posthumous Images Chad Elias analyzes a generation of artists working in Lebanon who interrogate Lebanon’s civil war (1975–1990), showing how their appropriation and creation of images challenge divisive political discourse, give a voice to those silenced and forgotten, and provide the means to reimagine Lebanon’s future.

 

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Celebrating the Editorship of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies

MEW-logoWe are excited to share the final post in our month-long series highlighting the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, a letter from current editors Frances S. Hasso, Banu Gökarıksel, and miriam cooke that summarizes the past three years of their editorship of the journal. Their tenure ends in May, when the editorship of the journal will shift to Soha Bayoumi, Sherine Hafez, and Ellen McLarney.


JMEWS is the official journal of the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies and has been published in three issues per annual volume since 2005. With the 2015 volume, the JMEWS Editorial Office shifted to Duke University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Concurrently, JMEWS moved to being published by Duke University Press Journals. The new Editors took the opportunity to continue the strongest features of the journal and instantiate a new vision for structure, content, and design that aimed to widen the transnational impact of the journal theoretically and across disciplines and sites.

Structurally, we re-organized the journal into three sections: Articles, Review Essays and Reviews, and Third Space. The revised structure facilitated improvements in content because it allowed for more consistent editorial expectations for published articles, including in their engagement with relevant feminist and sexuality scholarship. Article content was also revitalized by active recruitment of thematic manuscripts and an annual open call for papers whose theme is determined by a JMEWS North Carolina-based Editorial Collective of feminist scholars. Since our editorship, JMEWS has published thematic article sections on Everyday Intimacies (July 2016), The Gender and Sexuality of Militarization and War (November 2016), Egyptian Women Writers (March 2017), Gendered and Sexual Mobilities (July 2017), and Borders and Margins (November 2017). These sections include invited prefaces written by scholars who widen the intellectual reach of the journal.

Content changes include review essays and individual reviews that discuss books as well as museum exhibits, academic panels, films, and web-based projects, facilitating provocative engagements with a wider variety of texts. Review Essays and Reviews under our editorship depend on more intentional solicitation of objects of review structured by the editorial vision.

Interventions published in Third Space, which are typically solicited and internally edited, include timely activist, creative, and scholarly interventions of different forms and lengths that vary from 500 to 4,000 words, although they are usually less than 1,000 words. This part of the journal offers thematic initiatives, such as on contemporary challenges of autonomous feminist formations from Morocco to Iran (March, July, and November 2015), implications of the Turkish military coup attempt (March 2017), and feminist reactions to the Trump presidency (November 2017). It also includes visually-based essays and wide-ranging interviews, such as between Judith Butler and Nayereh Tohidi (November 2017) and Jasbir K. Puar and Kathryn Medien (March 2018).

In a meeting of structure, design and content, Third Space includes short Art Concept essays by the cover artist and editor that connect the art with the content of each issue. Other content innovations include vibrant cover art, visual essays, and Duke Press design. These shifts in structure, content, and design have opened opportunities for productive cross-disciplinary discussions about art among the editors and the Editorial Collective.

JMEWS has benefitted from less visible shifts that affect content. The Managing Editors Tamar Shirinian (cultural anthropology) and Rachel Greenspan (literature), the first readers of all article manuscript submissions, were competitively chosen advanced graduate students trained in feminist theory. The Review Editor, Amy Kallander, is a feminist historian of North Africa who is actively involved in articulating the vision of the journal and instantiating it. We have expanded the expert reviewer base to be more international, cross-disciplinary, and multi-generational. In order to facilitate generative conversations across area studies and disciplines, we often include non-area studies or out-of-discipline expert reviewers and we encourage writing that speaks across knowledge areas, languages, and sites. Many more kinds of “stakeholders” and voices are involved in the JMEWS project as authors, including those not trained in US and European academies.

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JMEWS is the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities.

Do you want to learn more about the journal? Sign up for latest issue alertssubscribe to the journal, and follow along with the JMEWS blog series.

Popular Culture: A Call for Papers from JMEWS

MEW-logoAs part of our month-long series highlighting the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, we’re excited to share this call for papers for an upcoming issue of the journal. JMEWS is the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities.
Call for Papers: Popular Culture

The Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies invites sexuality and gender scholars working in any discipline or interdisciplinary area in the interpretive social sciences and humanities to submit area-focused manuscripts of no more than 10,000 words on any topic related to popular culture for an issue to appear in 2019.

Competitive manuscripts 1) substantiate a thesis based on original scholarship; 2) are
conceptually coherent and clear; 3) are grounded in primary sources (literary, visual, archival, textual, ethnographic, artistic, legal, and so on); and 4) engage with pertinent questions that emerge from region-focused or transnational feminist and sexuality scholarship. Possible foci within the broad domain of popular culture include but are not limited to girl studies, masculinity studies, aesthetics and art, music, social media production, television (talent shows, talk shows, soap operas, game shows, serials), film, refugee studies, tourism, graffiti, advertisements, and consumer culture.

Submission guidelines may be found at jmews.org. Manuscripts are due on June 15, 2018 to the journal’s online submission system: www.editorialmanager.com/jmews. Questions may be directed to the editorial office.

Do you want to learn more about the journal? Sign up for latest issue alertssubscribe to the journal, and follow along with the JMEWS blog series.

Dissident Subjects: In Honor of miriam cooke

MEW-logoAs part of our month-long series highlighting the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, we’re excited to share a special section titled, “Dissident Subjects: In Honor of miriam cooke,” featured in the most recent issue of the journal (volume 14, issue 1).

This section features seven original essays and one poem honoring the contributions of JMEWS co-editor miriam cooke, Braxton Craven Professor Emerita of Arab Cultures at Duke University, on the occasion of her retirement. The pieces in this section build on cooke’s concerns or reflect her multifaceted career, which includes intellectual production and institution building.

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Topics include

Do you want to learn more? Sign up for latest issue alerts, subscribe to the journal, follow along with the JMEWS blog series, and watch this video with miriam cooke talking about the journal.

JMEWS is the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities.

Colonialism, Imperialism, and War

MEW-logoAs part of our month-long series highlighting the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, we’re excited to share a “Colonialism, Imperialism, and War” mock syllabus from the JMEWS, curated by the editors. JMEWS is the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities.

Colonialism, Imperialism, and War

 

Top Ten Most Read Articles from JMEWS

MEW-logoWe’re excited to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, as well as Women’s History Month, by spotlighting the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (JMEWS) throughout March. JMEWS is the official journal of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies. This interdisciplinary journal advances the fields of Middle East gender, sexuality, and women’s studies through the contributions of academics, artists, and activists from around the globe working in the interpretive social sciences and humanities.

Interested in reading more? Here are the top ten most frequently read articles from JMEWS from the past year:

 

 

New Books in March

Spring is just around the corner, and so are these great new titles coming out in March.

978-0-8223-6983-7In Me and My House Magdalena J. Zaborowska uses James Baldwin’s house in the south of France as a lens through which to reconstruct his biography and to explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity in his complex and underappreciated later works.

Bridging black feminist theory with disability studies, Sami Schalk’s Bodyminds Reimagined traces how black women’s speculative fiction complicates the understanding of bodyminds in the context of race, gender, and (dis)ability, showing how the genre’s exploration of bodyminds that exist outside of the present open up new social and ethical possibilities.

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In Murder on Shades Mountain Melanie S. Morrison tells the tragic story of the murder and attempted murder of three young women in 1930s Birmingham, Alabama, and the aftermath, which saw a reign of terror unleashed on the town’s black community, the wrongful conviction and death sentencing of Willie Peterson, and a black-led effort to free Peterson.

In Archiveology Catherine Russell uses the work of Walter Benjamin to explore how the practice of archiveology—the reuse, recycling, appropriation, and borrowing of archival sounds and images—by filmmakers provides ways to imagine the past and the future.

Crystal Biruk’s Cooking Data offers an ethnographic account of research into the demographics of HIV and AIDS in Malawi in which she rethinks how quantitative health data is produced by showing how data production is inevitably entangled with the lives of those who produce it.

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We’re excited to be publishing two novels in translation this month. Published in China in 2009 and appearing in English for the first time, Liu Zhenyun’s award-winning Someone to Talk To follows two men living seventy years apart who in their loneliness and struggle to find meaningful personal connections highlight the contours of everyday life in pre- and post-Mao China.

Originally published in 1924, José Eustasio Rivera’s novel  The Vortex follows the harrowing adventures of the young poet Arturo Cova and his lover Alicia as they elope and flee from Bogotá into the wild and woolly backcountry of Colombia. A major work of twentieth-century Latin American literature, The Vortex is both a denunciation of the sensational human-rights abuses that took place during the Amazonian rubber boom and one of the most famous literary renderings of the Amazonian rainforest.

Examining the cultural and gender politics of Chinese contemporary art at the turn of the twenty-first century, Sasha Su-Ling Welland’s Experimental Beijing shows how artists, curators, officials, and urban planners negotiated the meanings of the avant-garde, built new cultural institutions, wrote new histories of Chinese art, and imagined new, more gender-inclusive worlds.

New in the MoMA Primary Documents series, Modern Art in the Arab World, edited by Anneka Lenssen, Sarah Rogers,  and Nada Shabout, is a compendium of critical art writings by twentieth-century Arab intellectuals and artists that explore the formation of a global modernism through debates on originality, public space, spiritualism and art, postcolonial exhibition politics, and Arab nationalism, among many other topics.

Lamonte Aidoo’s Slavery Unseen upends dominant narratives of Brazilian national identity by showing how the myth of racial democracy is based on interracial and same-sex sexual violence between slave owners and their slaves that operated as a mechanism of perpetuating slavery and heteronormative white patriarchy.

978-0-8223-7147-2In Now that the Audience is Assembled David Grubbs explores the ephemeral nature of improvised music in Now that the audience is assembled, a prose poem that in its depiction of a fictional musical performance challenges common understandings of how and where music is composed, performed, and experienced.

Jan M. Padios’ A Nation on the Line examines the massive call center industry in the Philippines in the context of globalization, race, gender, transnationalism, and postcolonialism, outlining how it has become a significant site of efforts to redefine Filipino identity and culture, the Philippine nation-state, and the value of Filipino labor.

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Palestine beyond National Frames: Emerging Politics, Cultures, and Claims

The most recent issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, “Palestine beyond National Frames: Emerging Politics, Cultures, and Claims,” edited by Sophie Richter-Devroe and Ruba Salih, is now available.

ddsaq_117_1_coverThe “national” has functioned as the affective and symbolic frame for the political project of liberation for Palestinians and has also been the underlying grid of most of the scholarly work on Palestine. This issue goes beyond those national frames to disclose a different dimension of the Palestinian politics of liberation. It sheds light on an indigenous population engaged in ongoing and everyday collective resistance to protect their “home” and defend their “land”—as these are constantly reconfigured and imagined across place and time—rather than a memorialized homeland or national territory.

Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, now freely available.

Recent Scholarship on the 2017 Women’s March

On January 21, 2017, over 5 million people marched all over the world in support of women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, environmental policy reform, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and worker’s rights, among other causes. We are excited to share this recent scholarship that analyzes the Women’s March itself, as well as continued scholarship on feminism and women’s rights.

“Positions in Solidarity: Voices and Images from the US Women’s Marches” by Deborah Frizzell in Cultural Politics

Trump-WomensMarch_2017-top-1510075_(32409710246)In this article featured in Cultural Politics, Frizzell features photographs and remembrances of the Women’s Marches in New York City and Washington, D.C. The article addresses the efficacy of mass marches and similar forms of protest and poses questions about the nature of the March, what it achieved, and questions if solidarity can be sustained in an environment of ongoing divisiveness.
An excerpt from the article:
On the morning of January 21, 2017, I reviewed a PDF file from the National Lawyers Guild and the Black Movement Law Project to prepare for participation in the Women’s March in New York City. As I dressed for a mild winter’s day, I wrote with a Sharpie pen on my forearm the guild’s legal support hotline number in case of arrest. My good friend and colleague Sharon Vatsky and I decided to attend the march together. Although we had experience protesting in a number of marches over the years, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, we were not sure what to expect in 2017 with militarized police forces and escalating violence deployed by Trump supporters as a tactic against Muslims, Latinos, people of color, Jews, and LGBTQ communities.
Read the full article, made freely available.

“The Women’s March: New York, January 21, 2017” by Caroline Walker Bynum in Common Knowledge

Women's_March_2017-01_(04)Bynum wrote this article, featured in Common Knowledge, two days after the Women’s March in New York City. It describes the event while focusing on two specific aspects: the March’s multi-issue focus and its response to the denigration of women’s expertise represented in much of the hostility to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Bynum argues that “a pernicious and often unrecognized denigration of female voices and female expertise forms an undercurrent of contemporary political debate that needs to be much more widely resisted.”

An excerpt from the article:

Indeed, the staggering diversity of issues was one of the most obvious aspects of Saturday’s march. Even among those in my little group, there were many reasons for turning out. Our signs spoke of defending Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, gun control, the inner cities, the environment. If there was no clear agenda, why does it seem so important that my friends and I marched?

Above all, it is important because it was a women’s march—a fact that the commentators have not fully noted and understood.

Read the full article, made freely available.

 

Additional Scholarship on Feminism and Women’s Rights

Read to Respond: Feminism and Women’s Rights

readtorespondOur “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 blog post on Feminism and Women’s Rights features journal articles and books 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.

“Borders and Margins,” a special issue of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies

ddmew_13_3_coverThis special issue of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, “Borders and Margins,” approaches borders and margins through the lens of gender and sexuality.  Borders and margins are productive spaces to examine both the power and contingency of normative gender and sexual ideals and how gendered and sexual bodies participate in the production and reconfiguration of the nation-state. Essays in this issue analyze how women on the margins of society expose the exclusionary and gendered logics of nation-state formation and then generate new engagements with embodied politics and religious practice. This examination of borders and margins continues the feminist and gender-based analyses of material and discursive spaces and mobilities examined in previous issues.

The issue also features a special forum on Trump’s Presidency and Middle East Women’s Studies, examining topics such as the Muslim ban and the gendered side of Islamophobia. This special forum is freely available until May 2018.

Start reading with Sara Smith’s preface to the issue, freely available now.

“1970s Feminisms,” a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly

ddsaq_114_4For more than a decade, feminist historians and historiographers have engaged in challenging the “third wave” portrait of 1970s feminism as essentialist, white, middle-class, uninterested in racism, and theoretically naive. This task has involved setting the record straight about women’s liberation by interrogating how that image took hold in the public imagination and among academic feminists. This issue invites feminist theorists to return to women’s liberation—to the texts, genres, and cultural productions to which the movement gave rise—for a more nuanced look at its conceptual and political consequences. The essays in this issue explore such topics as the ambivalent legacies of women’s liberation; the production of feminist subjectivity in mass culture and abortion documentaries; the political effects of archiving Chicana feminism; and conceptual and generic innovations in the work of Gayle Rubin, Christine Delphy, and Shulamith Firestone.

Start reading now.

“Trans/Feminisms,” a special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly

ddtsq_3_1-2Feminism and trans activism don’t have to be mutually exclusive, argue the contributors to “Trans/Feminisms,” the most recent issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.

This special double issue, edited by Susan Stryker and Talia M. Bettcher, goes beyond the simplistic dichotomy between an exclusionary transphobic feminism and an inclusive trans-affirming feminism. Exploring the ways in which trans issues are addressed within feminist and women’s organizations and social movements around the world, contributors ask how trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary issues are related to feminist movements today, what kind of work is currently undertaken in the name of trans/feminism, what new paradigms and visions are emerging, and what questions still need to be taken up.

Central to this issue is the recognition that oppressions intersect, converge, overlap, and sometimes diverge in complex ways, and that trans/feminist politics cannot restrict itself to the domain of gender alone.

This issue features numerous shorter works that represent the diversity of trans/feminist practices and problematics and, in addition to original research articles, includes theory, reports, manifestos, opinion pieces, reviews, and creative/artistic productions, as well as republished key documents of trans/feminist history and international scholarship.

Start reading now.

“World Policy Interrupted,” a special issue of World Policy Journal
wpj33_4_23_frontcover_fppIn “World Policy Interrupted,” a special issue of World Policy Journal penned entirely by female foreign policy experts and journalists, contributors imagine a world where the majority of foreign policy experts quoted, bylined, and miked are not men.

The issue challenges the perception that women are not policymakers by showcasing the voices of female experts and leaders. Contributors to this issue address topics such as feminism in Chinaabortion laws across the Americascombating violent extremism by working with religious leaders, and women in media. The issue also features a conversation with Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of Mauritus.

Start reading now.