American University of Beirut

Feminism in Crisis? Gender and the Arab Public Sphere


  • Carmen Geha, Assistant Professor of Public Administration
  • Sara Mourad, Assistant Professor of Media Studies
  • Rim Saab, Assistant Professor of Social Psychology

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This conference is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Asfari Institute ​for Civil Society and ​Citizenship, the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern​​ Studies, FAS Women and Gender Studies Initiative and ​​the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - ​Beirut Office







(MAP of AUB)

​Day 1: Friday, January 19, 2018 ​

​9.00 – 9.45Registration
​9.45 – 10.30​Welcome and Introduction
Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium

Sara Mourad, Assistant Professor of Media Studies & Coordinator of the AUB Women and Gender Initiative
Dina El Khawaga, Director of the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship

Opening Remarks:
Nadia El Cheikh, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
​10.30 – 11.40Parallel Sessions:

Panel 1: Gender, Sexuality, and Public Health
Chair: Jocelyn DeJong, Professor and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, AUB

Room: West Hall, Auditorium A    
  • Cynthia El Khoury (Arab Foundation for Freedom and Equality) and Sara Wehbe (Baynetna) – “Baynetna or Mish Baynetna: Inclusion and Prioritization of the Health of Trans Feminine Individuals in Lebanon."
  • Ayesha al-Rifai (Women Training Center, UNRW​A) – “Safe or Unsafe, Abortion Must Be Controlled: Reproduction as a Space for Contestation."
  • Inas Abdelwahed (American University of Beirut​) – “Sexual and Reproductive Health in the Lebanese Newspapers: A Content Analysis."

Panel 2: Arab Public Opinion on Gender and Politics
Chair: Sawsan Abdulrahim, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Community Health, AUB

Room: West Hall, Auditorium B ​
  • Niels Spierings (Radboud University) – “A Gender Lens on the Support for Democracy and Islam among the Public of 14 MENA Countries."
  • Saskia Glas (Radboud University) – “The Role of Personal Religiosity and Political Opportunity Structures."
  • Rim Saab (American University of Beirut) – "Politically Engaged Women from Different Corners of the Arab World: Is there a Common Profile?"
​11.40 – 12.00​Coffee Break
West Hall, 1st Floor
​12.00 – 13.30​Parallel Sessions:

Panel 3: Queer Kinship and Politics
Chair: Frances Hasso, Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Feminits Studies, Duke University

Room: West Hall, Auditorium B
  • Patrick Haddad (American University of Beirut) – “Friendship as a Way of Life: Foucault, Queer Friendship, and Rabih Alameddine's Koolaids."
  • Jade Moussa (Diplomatic Academy of Vienna) – “Queering the Middle Eastern Queer: On How the Western Queer Discourse Limits the Queer Arab Man's Identity."
  • Maha Aboraya (Ajman University) – “Media Coverage of the Phenomenon of 'Boyat' in Kuwaiti Society: A Feminist Approach – التناول الاعلامي لظاهرة البويات في المجتمع الكويتي: مقاربة نسوية"

Panel 4: Islamic Feminism: Contemporary Frameworks
Chair: Beth Baron, Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Middle East Center, CUNY

Room: West Hall, Auditorium A
  • Beverly Dawn Metcalfe and Charlotte Karam (American University of Beirut) – “Re-imaging Radicalism's: Islamic Feminism(s), Social Change and Development in New Middle East."
  • Aslı Karaca (Central European University) – “Women's Politico-Religious Dissent and Transgression in Egypt and Turkey."
  • Meriem El Haitami (Université Internationale de Rabat) – “Islam and 'Feminism' in Morocco: Towards a Decolonial Praxis."
  • Connie Christiansen (Lebanese American University) – “Gender Equality and Islamic Family Laws – A Transnational Approach."
​13.30 – 14.30​Lunch Break
West Hall, 1st Floor
​14.30 – 15.30​Keynote Address:

Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium

Hoda Elsadda (Cairo University) – "Arab Feminisms in Postcolonial States: A Legacy of Appropriation and Contestation​."

Moderator: Rim Saab, Assistant Professor of Psychology, AUB
​15.30 – 16.40Parallel Sessions:

Panel 5: Biographies of Political Feminist Figures
Chair: Jean Makdisi, Feminist Writer and University Lecturer

Room: West Hall, Auditorium A ​
  • Angela Kahil (British University in Egypt) – “Angela Jurdak Khoury: A Historical Perspective of Political Feminism in Lebanon."
  • Yasmin Shafei (American University of Beirut) – “Beyond the Public Sphere: Female Voices from the 'Margins'."
  • Sara Mourad (American University of Beirut) –​ "Mothering Feminist Thought."

Panel 6: Visual Cultures of Art and Story-Telling
Chair: Jennifer Nish, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition, AUB

Room: West Hall, Auditorium B
  • Sara Shaker (British University in Egypt) – “Egyptian Adult Comics: A Place for Untold Gender Stories in Egyptian Society."
  • Hend Alawadhi (University of Rochester) – “Killing Joy, Making Space: The Feminist Politics of Comicskilljoy."
​16.40 – 17.00​Coffee Break
West Hall, 1st Floor
​17.00 – ​18.30​Keynote Plenary: “Feminist Critique: Pedagogy and Scholarship in Times of Crisis"

Room: West Hall, Bathish Auditorium​

  • Beth Baron (City University of New York)
  • Frances Hasso  (Duke University)
  • Islah Jad (Birzeit University)

Moderator: Sara Mourad, Assistant Professor of Media Studies, AUB
​19.30Dinner + Screening of Short Films by Nazra (
Room: West Hall, Common Room

​Day 2: Saturday, January 20, 2018 ​

​9.00 – 10.30Parallel Sessions:

Panel 7: Cultural Production and Women's Agency
Chair: Kathryn Maude, Assistant Professor of Womena and Gender Studies, AUB

Room: West Hall, Auditorium B ​
  • Jennifer Nish (American University of Beirut) – “Rhetorical Genres and the Limits of Feminist Activism: Can a Selfie Be a Feminist Act?"
  • Liina Mustonen (European University Institute) – “Performing 'Successful Femininity': Social Disctinction in Egypt."
  • Salam Al-Mahadin and Hanan Ibrahim (Al-Ahliyya Amman University) – “A Tale of two Jordanian Videos: De-Feminising Israeli Occupation."

Panel 8: State-led Gender Reforms: Evaluating Mechanisms and Impact
Chair: Rima Karami Akkary, Associate Professor of Educational Administration, Policy, and Leadership, AUB

Room: West Hall, Auditorium C               
  • Abouziane Daabaji (University of Sidi Mohammad Ben Abdallah) – “The Crisis of Representation of Moroccan Women in Higher Economic and Political Institutions – أزمة تمثيلية المرأة المغربية في الدوائر العليا الاقتصادية والسياسية"
  • Fatimaezzahra Belfakir (American University of Beirut) – “Parliamentary Performance of Moroccan Women: Study on Sociological Profiles and Legislative Role."

Panel 9: Gender, Militancy, and Radicalization​
Chair: Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS

Room: West Hall, Auditorium A
  • Isabel Käser (SOAS University of London) – “Militant Femininity: A Gendered Analysis of the PKK's Liberation Ideology."
  • Joseph Alagha (Haigazian University) – “Radicalized Women: Social Movements and Collective Action."
  • Samar Kassis (Al-Ahliyya Amman University) – “The Union of Women Held Captive for Freedom: Reality, Possibilities and Challenges – رابطة نساء اسرن من اجل الحرية: الواقع والامكانيات والتحديات"
  • Sarah Boukhari (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) – “Daesh, or the Islamic State of Ultrapatriarchy: What Kind of a Gender Order is in the Making?
​10.30 – 10.50​Coffee Break
West Hall, 1st Floor
​10.50 – 12.00Parallel Sessions:

Panel 10: Intersectional Feminism: Thought and Practice
Chair: Dina El Khawaga, Director, Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship

Room: West Hall, Auditorium A ​
  • Mentalla Ahmed Agha (University of Antwerp) – “Finding a Place for the Nubian Feminist."
  • Allison Finn (American University of Beirut) – “Coloniality and Complicity in Feminist Research and Activism."
  • Ginger Feather (University of Kansas) – “Entering a Post-Feminist Phase and the Rise of Youth Social Justice Movements?"

Panel 11: Structural Barriers to Female Solidarity and Empowerment
Chair: Islah Jad, Associate Professor of Gender and Development, Birzeit University and Qatar University

Room: West Hall, Auditorium B​                
  • Sarah El Masry (Lebanon Support) – “From Cairo to Beirut: The Demise of Cross-National Feminism."
  • Rola al-Husseini (Lund University) – “Gender and Sectarianism: Women's Political Representation in Iraq and Lebanon."
  • Carmen Geha (American University of Beirut) – “Sectarian Power-Sharing and the Myth of Women Political Empowerment in Lebanon."
​12.00 – 13.30​Parallel Sessions:

Panel 12: Silencing and Recognition
Chair: Hoda Elsadda, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Cairo University

Room: West Hall, Auditorium A ​                
  • Fidaa Chehayeb (University of Birmingham) – “Breaking the Silence."
  • Shereen Abouelnaga (Cairo University) – “Let's Grieve Over Misrecognition."
  • Doris Gray (Al Akhawayn University) – “Transitional Justice in Tunisia: The Forgotten Victims Six Years After the Uprising, Who are the Winners and the Losers?"​

Panel 13: Women's Empowerment: Institutional Approaches
Chair: Charlotte Karam, Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Associate Dean, Olayan School of Business, AUB

Room: West Hall, Auditorium B​                
  • Sabah Ikhmayees (Al-Quds University) – “The Implications of Gender Quota in Palestine as a Conflict-Torn, Divided Society."
  • Hanane Darhour (Ibn Zohr University) – “Gender Quota Reforms in Morocco and the Politics of Sidelining."
  • Maissam Nimer (Koç University) – “Unde​rstanding the Production and Reproduction of Gender Inequalities in Lebanon: Case of a Scholarship Development Program in an Elite Higher Education Institution."
​​13.30 –​ 14.30​Lunch Break
West Hall, 1st Floor
​14.30 – 16.00​Parallel Sessions:​

Panel 14: Sexual Violence: Strategies for Change and Containment
Chair: Rima Majed, Assistant Professor of Sociology, AUB

Room: West Hall, Auditorium A ​
  • Allison Finn (American University of Beirut) and Nay El Rahi (HarassTracker) – “Why Are We Still Here? The Gaps in Feminist Advocacy for a Sexual Harassment Law in Lebanon."
  • Fatima Moussawi and Mona Khneisser (American University of Beirut​) – “Public Policy and Sexual Violence in Lebanon: Questioning Public/Private Bina​ries."​
  • Helen Rizzo (The American University in Cairo) – “Redefining Masculinities in Anti Gender Based Violence Initiatives."
  • Kamile Dinçsoy (Istanbul University) – “Negative Gendered Effects of Turkey's Asylum Regime."​


Room: West Hall, Auditorium B  

Building Collective Power: Lessons Learnt in the Forming of a Feminist Bloc

Feminist Bloc: Sarah​ Kaddoura, Youmna Mroue, Mira Al Mawla, and Islam Khatib

Moderator: Rim Saab, Assistant Professor of Psychology, AUB
​16.00 – 16.20​Coffee Break
West Hall, 1st Floor
​16.20 – 17.20Keynote Address:​

Room: West Hall​, Bathish Auditorium​​​​

Nadje Al-Ali (SOAS University of London) - "Intersecting​ Crises: So What Can Feminism Accomplish?"

Moderator: Rim Saab, Assistant Professor of Psychology, AUB

Closing Remarks:
Carmen Geha, Assistant Professor of Public Administration, AUB​
​20.00 ​Closing Dinner
West Hall, Common Room

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