Middle East Studies

CANCELLED: Zahra Ali – Women and Gender in Iraq

event poster

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

5:45 – 7:15 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute
111 Thayer St.

In light of updated COVID-19 related events guidelines, we are cancelling this event but have rescheduled for September 15, 2020. For up-to-date information, including campus travel restrictions, please visit the University’s COVID-19 Updates website

Since the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the challenges of sectarianism and militarism have weighed heavily on the women of Iraq. In this book, Zahra Ali foregrounds a wide-range of interviews with a variety of women involved in women's rights activism, showing how everyday life and intellectual life has developed since the US-led invasion. In addition to this, Ali offers detailed historical research of social, economic and political contexts since the formation of the Iraqi state in the 1920s. Through a transnational and postcolonial feminist approach, this book also considers the ways in which gender norms and practices, Iraqi feminist discourses, and activisms are shaped and developed through state politics, competing nationalisms, religious, tribal and sectarian dynamics, wars, and economic sanctions. The result is a vivid account of the everyday life in today's Iraq and an exceptional analysis of the future of Iraqi feminisms.

Organized by Nadje Al-Ali, Robert Family Professor of International Studies, professor of anthropology and Middle East studies.


zahra aliZahra Ali is a sociologist, her research explores dynamics of women and gender, social and political movements in relation to Islam(s) and the Middle East and contexts of war and conflicts with a focus on contemporary Iraq. She is an assistant professor of sociology at Rutgers University. Her book Women and Gender in Iraq: between Nation-building and Fragmentation (Cambridge University Press, 2018), is a sociological study of Iraqi women’s social, political activism and feminisms through an in-depth ethnography of post-2003 Iraqi women’s rights organizations and a detailed research on Iraqi women’s social, economic and political experiences since the formation of the Iraqi state.

She also co-edited the journal volume Pluriversalisme Décolonial with Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun (Kimé, 2017) that explores decolonial theories reflecting on non-eurocentric epistemologies, aesthetics, political thoughts and activisms. The volume draws on Latin American and Caribbean philosophies, concepts of creolization and racialization and explores Afropean aesthetics, arts and cultural productions, religion, feminisms, fashion, education and architecture. Zahra Ali also edited Féminismes Islamiques (La Fabrique editions, 2012; translated and published in GermanPassagen Verlag, 2014) that reflects on transnational Islamic/Muslim feminisms through a postcolonial and intersectional feminist perspective, analyzing the interrelationship between race, gender, religion and postcoloniality.