Institute of Women’s Studies Publishes 7th Review

Birzeit University’s Institute of Women’s Studies published its seventh annual review, including five research articles in Arabic and seven in English, most of which were presented at the institute’s 2011 and 2012 conferences.
Research topics touched on several issues, among them Palestinian law and civil society, the socioeconomic situation of Palestinian women in Jaffa, women’s rights after the Oslo accords, Israel’s forced displacement of Palestinians, and rights in post-colonial contexts.
The English-language section of the review commences with a paper by University of California Professor Saba Mahmood analyzing how “the gendered and sexualized dimensions of interreligious conflict… are best understood as a product of the unique paradoxes produced by the simultaneous privatization of sexuality and religion under the modern post-colonial state.” University of Manchester Professor Hoda Elsadda addresses women’s rights activism in post- January 25 Egypt, where she describes a backlash against women’s rights, in particular Mubarak-era reforms of family law. Birzeit University Professor Rema Hammami contributes an intervention entitled “Governance or Governmentality?” where she argues compellingly for the later by reflecting on the experience of the Palestinian Authority.nbsp;nbsp;
Also writing about governance, Gender at Work Director Aruna Rao shares Hammami’s concern that discourses and practices of “governance” need to be dismantled while taking into account colonial legacies and post-colonial realities. DePaul University Professor Kalyani Menon dissects the Indian economic project “Shining India”, relating it to rising rates of violence against women. Professor Nader Shalhoub examines another form of violence--that perpetrated by Israeli legislation that prevents Palestinian spouses from the West Bank and Gaza from residing with their partners living in historical Palestine, including East Jerusalem. The section concludes with a contribution from Birzeit’s Penny Johnson, focusing on the re-configuration of the Palestinian social contract in the troubled post-Oslo terrain.
In the review’s Arabic section, Birzeit law researcher Reem Botmeh reviews and evaluates key Palestinian legislation from a women’s rights perspective, arguing that legal reform must be accompanied by broader change initiatives in order for the reform to be an effective tool in addressing gender equality issues. Lecturer Ala Azza discusses the need to form an alternative model for civil society that is independent from governance models and statist structures, including the Israeli occupation. Political science researcher Mtanes Shehadeh tackles the issue of economic conditions among Arab women in Israel, particularly in Jaffa city, and their marginalization through the Israeli policies of housing and urban planning, as well as the consequences of economic globalization. Finally, the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling’s Maha Abu Dayyeh reflects on post-Oslo gender legal strategies and achievements and failures. nbsp;nbsp;
The Review of Women’s Studies is a bilingual academic journal that includes research that enhances the understanding of gender issues in Palestinian society, through a range of disciplines. In addition to papers submitted by faculty members and graduate students of the institute, the review also includes contributions from local and international researchers.nbsp;