Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa


Spring 2016





A woman holding a wounded relative during protests in Sanaa, Yemen, on October 15, 2011. (World Press Photo of the Year 2011, taken by Samuel Aranda for The New York Times via Reuters)



Women have long been at the forefront of the Western understandings of Islam and the Middle East. Recently they literally have been at the forefront of revolutions in the region as well as on the cover pages of the Western press making sense of the “Arab Spring.” In WGS.220 we look at some of this history as well as to the reasons behind the Occidental fascination with the Oriental females. We also study women in their own rights, as historical actors participating in nationalist, anti-colonialist, feminist movements and rejecting contemporary Western attempts to “save” (?) them. A small portion of the course is devoted to understanding Islamic and Middle Eastern masculinities as well as homosexuality in the region and according to Islam.

The subject has no prerequisite and does not assume any relevant prior knowledge.