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Professor Nadje Al-Ali (SOAS) presents "'Between the Rainbow and the ISIS Flag': Feminist Dilemmas and Complexities"

Part of the IAIS Visiting Speaker Series

Nadje Al-Ali is Professor of Gender Studies at the Centre for Gender Studies (CGS), SOAS University of London. She is currently chair of the Centre for Gender Studies but will leave SOAS to take up a new position in anthropology with reference to the Middle East at Brown University in January 2019. Her main research interests revolve around feminist activism and gendered mobilisation, mainly with reference to Iraq, Egypt, Turkey and the Kurdish political movement, and most recently Lebanon. Nadje Al-Ali has been a member of the Feminist Review Collective, and is on the editorial board of Kohl: a journal of body and gender research. As a feminist activist she has been involved in various local and transnational organisations and campaigns and was a founding member of Act Together: Women's Action for Iraq.

Event details


The talk will chart Nadje's trajectories and dilemmas as a feminist activist/academic to research, write and talk about gender based violence (GBV) in relation to the Middle East.  More specifically she will be drawing on research and activism in relation to post-invasion Iraq, the Kurdish women's movement in Turkey, as well as queer feminist activism in Lebanon to map the discursive, political and empirical challenges and complexities linked to scholarship and activism that is grounded in both feminist and anti-racisit/anti-Islamaphobic politics.  She will also engage with the continuum of activist and academic engagements.  As many feminists have argued on numerous occasions, the binary of knowledge production and activism is problematic, and glosses over the complex ways in which funding, privilege and constructions of authenticity work.

Her publications include What kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (2009, University of California Press, co-authored with Nicola Pratt); Women and War in the Middle East: Transnational Perspectives (Zed Books, 2009, co-edited with Nicola Pratt); Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present (2007, Zed Books);  Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press 2000), as well as numberous book chapters and journal articles.  Her co-edited book with Deborah al-Najjar entitled We are Iraqis: Aesthetics & Politics in a Time of War (Syracuse University Press) won the 2014 Arab-American book prize for non-fiction.  Her more recent research and publications focus on the Turkish-Kurdish conflict and the Kurdish women's movement and queer feminist activism in Beirut.

Tea and coffee will be served from 4.30pm in the IAIS Common Room.  Everyone is welcome to attend and registration is not necessary.

Professor Nadje Al-Ali


IAIS Building/LT1