Monday, March 30, 2009

Shahrzad Mojab will be in UCLA for A Symposium on Women in Conflict Zones

A Symposium on Women in Conflict Zones

This Symposium will feature a keynote/public lecture by Shahrazad Mojab of the University of Toronto, followed by a panel and a workshop designed to explore various conflict zones (e.g., Palestine, Iran (Kurds), Algeria, Sudan, Mexico, Lebanon, Cuba, Eritrea, Tunisia, Philippines, Rwanda/Congo, South Africa, and the United States, where individuals may be actors, warriors, victims, perpetrators, survivors, collaborators, icons or symbols and may be ambivalent, complicit, and have complicated relationships to their adversaries.
Friday, April 10, 2009
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
UCLA Faculty Center, Sequoia Room
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The Burkle Center for International Relations and Department of Women’s Studies

(with Co-Sponsors--UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, the Center for the Study of Women,
The Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, and the Office of the Dean, Social Sciences)


A Symposium on Women in Conflict Zones

April 10, 2009
Sequoia Room, Faculty Center, UCLA

The Women in Conflict Zones Symposium on Friday, April 10, 2009, will feature a keynote/public lecture by Shahrazad Mojab of the University of Toronto, followed during the day by a panel and a workshop designed to explore various conflict zones (e.g., Palestine, Iran (Kurds), Algeria, Sudan, Mexico, Lebanon, Cuba, Eritrea, Tunisia, Philippines, Rwanda/Congo, South Africa, and the United States where individuals may be actors, warriors, victims, pawns, perpetrators, survivors, collaborators, icons or symbols and may be ambivalent, complicit, and have complicated relationships to their adversaries. In these areas women may also be mediators, peacemakers, justice-seekers, and human rights advocates. Symposium participants will explore these and other similarly urgent contemporary developments shaped by the intersections of gender, conflict, and militarism. The themes explore the nature and rationales for violence, militarization and masculinity, the politics of memory and naming, trauma and healing, and forms of reconciliation. Participants include Dina Al-Kassim (UC Irvine), Azza Basarudin (UCLA), Lara Deeb (Scripps College), Sondra Hale (UCLA), Caren Kaplan (UC Davis), Jennifer Terry (UC Irvine), and Juliet Williams (UCLA), and other faculty and graduate students primarily from UCLA who will participate in a workshop on “Women in Conflict Zones and Human Rights Questions—Theories, Cases, Practices, and Archival Activism” (Beyene, Blackwell, Finch, Khedher, Santos, and Sharif).

Program Schedule At-a-Glance

9:00 am-10:00am: Registration, Continental Breakfast

Welcome Remarks by Christine Littleton, Chair, Department of Women’s Studies, Professor of Law
Introduction by Sondra Hale, Symposium Organizer

10.00am-12 noon: Keynote Address by Shahrzad Mojab

12 noon-1pm: Lunch (for Participants)

1:00pm-3:30pm: Panel -- “Gender and Conflict Zones”
Al-Kassim, Deeb, Hale, Kaplan, and Terry Basarudin, Chair; Williams, Discussant

3:30pm-4:00pm: Tea/Coffee Break

4:00pm-6:00pm: Workshop -- “Women in Conflict Zones & Human Rights Questions:
Theories, Cases, Practices, and Archival Activism"
Beyene, Blackwell, Finch, Khedher, Santos, and Sharif. Gallagher, Chair; Mojab, Discussant

6:00pm-7:30pm: Reception/Light Dinner

Complete Program Schedule
9:00-10:00am: Registration, continental breakfast, welcome remarks
Welcome/Opening: Christine Littleton, Chair, Department of Women’s Studies, UCLA
Introduction: Sondra Hale, Professor of Women’s Studies and Anthropology, UCLA
10.00am-12 noon:

Keynote - “Re-centering Imperialism in Feminist Theorization of War, Reconstruction and Women’s NGOs”

Shahrzad Mojab, Director of Women and Gender Studies Institute and Professor at the Department of Adult Education & Counselling Psychology, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UT)

Shahrzad Mojab, Professor, is an academic-activist, teaching at the Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Professor Mojab is the former Director of the Women and Gender Institute at the University of Toronto and the past-President of the Canadian Association for the Studies of Adult Education. She is the recipient of several awards, notably in 2008 she received Distinguished Contribution to Graduate Teaching Award at the University of Toronto. Her publications include, among others, book chapters and articles which have appeared in reputable international journals. She has edited Women of a Non-State Nation: The Kurds; co-editor Of Property and Propriety: The Role of Gender and Class in Imperialism and Nationalism and Violence in the Name of Honour: Theoretical and Political Challenges. She has been the guest editor of a number of journals including Resources for Feminist Research, (with Himani Bannerji) on War and Militarization; International Journal of Lifelong Education on “Women, War and Learning,” and the forthcoming Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East Journal (with Martina Reiker) on “Gender and Empire.”

Professor Mojab is currently conducting Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada-funded research on war, diaspora, and learning; women political prisoners in the Middle East; war and transnational women’s organizations, and civic education curriculum as experienced by immigrant youth from war zones. She has created two research websites as an archival space for relevant resources for research and as a tool for the dissemination of knowledge. The websites are: Women, War, Diaspora and Learning ( and Memories, Memoirs, and the Arts: Women Political Prisoners of Iran (
12 noon- 1pm:

Lunch for participants [non-participants will be given suggestions for other lunch possibilities on campus]

Panel on “Gender and Conflict Zones” Chair: Azza Basarudin, Women’s Studies, UCLA

Azza Basarudin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Women’s Studies at UCLA. She is currently completing a dissertation entitled, In Search of Moral Communities: Engaging Gender Justice and Ethical Citizenry in Malaysia and Egypt on Muslim feminist political engagement in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. She is a member of the Radical Arab Women’s Activist Network (RAWAN) and the Secretary for the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS). She is also a recipient of awards from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among others.

Discussant: Juliet Williams, Associate Professor, Women’s Studies, UCLA

Juliet A. Williams is Associate Professor in the Department of Women's Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests lie at the intersection of feminist theory, socio-legal studies and cultural studies. She is the author of Liberalism and the Limits of Power (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and is the coeditor, with Paul Apostolidis, of Public Affairs: Politics in the Age of Sex Scandals (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004). Currently, she is working on a book entitled Making A Difference: The Fall and Rise of Single-Sex Public Education, which examines competing narratives of sex and gender difference in the arenas of law, popular science, and public education.

Lara Deeb, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Scripps College
“Hizbullah Women and Islamic Resistance in Lebanon”

Lara Deeb is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Scripps College. She is the author of An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi'i Lebanon (Princeton University Press 2006) as well as of a number of articles on the transformation of Shi'i religious ritual, Islamic women's participation in the public sphere, and Hizbullah in Lebanon. She is also a member of the editorial committee for Middle East Report, Book Review Editor for the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, and Co-Editor for Reviews for American Ethnologist.

Dina al-Kassim, Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine
“Producing the Differend Otherwise in the Women’s Prison”

Dina Al-Kassim is the author of On Pain of Speech (UC Press 2009) and journal articles in Cultural Dynamics, Grey Room, Interventions, Parachute and Public Culture. Before joining the UC Irvine Department of Comparative Literature, she taught at UC Berkeley, Stanford University and SUNY Albany and has been a fellow at the UCHRI, Stanford and the Radcliffe Institute. Recent publications include the conclusion to Islamicate Sexualities (2008), which explores epistemologies of sexuality and historiography in Middle East Studies and “Resistance Terminable and Interminable”, which challenges philosophical models of political resistance to take stock of the political act and women’s political protests in particular (Derrida/Deleuze 2007). Her book in progress “Repudiating the Law,” is a comparative study of the roles that women’s testimony to political violence is made to play in the constitution of new state narratives in the postcolony with selected cases drawn from Algeria, South Africa and Lebanon.

Sondra Hale, Professor, Women’s Studies and Anthropology, UCLA
“The Politics of Memory in Conflict Zones - Eritrea and Sudan”

Sondra Hale is Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at UCLA and the Co-Editor of Journal for Middle East Wome’s Studies. She has published Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism, and the State (1996) and many articles and book chapters on the topics of gender and social movements; women, war, conflict, and genocide; gender and citizenship; exile/diaspora studies; and international gender studies. She is co-editor of a book-in-progress on “Sudan’s Killing Fields: Perspectives on Genocide,” and is researching gender and perpetual-conflict situations. Prof. Hale is an activist who is a founder and coordinator of the Darfur Task Force and California Scholars for Academic Freedom, among others.

Caren Kaplan, Professor, Women and Gender Studies, and Chair of the Cultural Studies Graduate Group, University of California, Davis
“Mobility and War: U.S. ‘Air Power’ and the Social Construction of Targets”

Kaplan received her Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz in 1987 and worked at Georgetown University and UC Berkeley before joining the faculty at UC Davis in 2004. Professor Kaplan is the author of Questions of Travel: Postmodern Discourses of Displacement (1996) and the co-editor of Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity and Transnational Feminist Practices (1994), Between Woman and Nation: Transnational Feminisms and the State (1999), and Introduction to Women’s Studies: Gender in a Transnational World (2001, 2005). Her current research focuses on visual culture, militarization, and technologies of location and navigation.

Jennifer Terry, Associate Professor and Chair, Women’s Studies, University of California, Irvine
“Militarization as Entertainment: Eroticism, Masculinity, and Empire”
Jennifer Terry’s research is concentrated in Feminist Cultural Studies; Science and Technology studies; comparative and historical formations of gender, race, and sexuality; critical approaches to modernity; and American studies in transnational perspective. She is now working on a project presently titled Killer Entertainments: Militarism, Governmentality, and Consuming Desires in Transnational America. The project focuses on the history of military morale management in the US during the expansion of the nation into an international empire by theorizing the dynamics of governmentality and sentimentality as they manifest in the mutual provocations between entertainment forms, hygienic technologies, and militarism.
3:30pm-4:00pm: Tea/Coffee Break
4:00pm-6:00pm: Workshop on “Women in Conflict Zones and Human Rights Questions—Theories, Cases, Practices, and Archival Activism”

Chair: Nancy Gallagher, Professor, History, UCSB

Nancy Gallagher is Professor of History and Chair of the Near East Studies Program at University of California, Santa Barbara. She has co-directed the Center for Middle East Studies and is the Co-Editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. Professor Gallagher has published dozens of articles and chapters on the Middle East, and books ranging from medical history to women’s rights as human rights in the Middle East. Her most recent book analyzes Quaker activism in Palestine.

Discussant: Shahrzad Mojab [see bio above]

Tina Beyene, Department of Women’s Studies, UCLA: “Negotiating Past Conflicts, Shaping New Societies: The Epistemological and Organizing Challenges of African Feminists”

Tina Beyene is a PhD candidate in Women’s Studies at UCLA. Her primary area is on women and conflict, particularly in genocidal conflicts and post-conflict nation-building in Africa. Primarily working in Rwanda, she is interested in emerging feminist discourses around sexual violence and armed conflict, paying particular attention to their treatment of ethnic and colonial dimensions of violence against African women in conflict zones.

Maylei Blackwell, Assistant Professor, Chicano Studies, UCLA: “When the Desks Don't Speak: Indigenous Women's Organizing in Militarized Mexico”

Maylei Blackwell is an assistant professor in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and she is affiliated faculty in the Women’s Studies Department and the American Indian Studies and GLBT Studies programs at UCLA. Her forthcoming book is entitled, “Retrofitted Memory: Contested Histories of Gender and Feminism in the Chicano Movement.” Her second project explores the possibilities and challenges of women's transnational organizing around various axes of difference, or across what she calls Geographies of Difference. She is traversing these geographies through conversations with indigenous women organizers in Mexico, Latin American feminist movements, and sexual rights activists, all of who are involved in cross border organizing and community formation.

Aisha Finch, Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies and Afro-American Studies, UCLA: “Gendering the Peripheries of Revolution: Rethinking the Paradigms of Slave Insurgency in Cuba”

Aisha K. Finch received her Ph.D. from the History Department at New York University, where she specialized in African Diaspora History and Caribbean and Latin American History. From 2007-2008, she was a UC President’s Postdoctoral fellow at UCLA. She is currently an assistant professor of Women’s Studies and Afro-American Studies at UCLA, and is working on a book manuscript that examines the slave resistance movement that unfolded in Cuba from 1843-44, and the black political culture that produced it. Her work revisits existing paradigms of slave insurgency through mapping out intimate geographies of labor, gendered practices and ideologies of freedom, and the social circuits embedded in Cuba’s quotidian plantation world

Rayed Khedher, Anthropology Department, UCLA: “The Courts of Women: Seeking New Forms of Justice.”

Rayed Khedher is a Ph.D. student in Anthropology at UCLA. He holds an MA in applied anthropology from California State University, Long Beach. His research examines issues related to transnational migration, media politics, human rights, Islam and social movements. Rayed has also served as a Youth Program Coordinator at El Taller International, an NGO that works to challenge structural violence and searches for alternative discourses on gender, human rights, development and justice.

Stephanie Santos, Women’s Studies, UCLA: “Militarization and Development Aggression in the Cordilleras”[Philippines]

Stephanie Santos is a PhD student with the UCLA Department of Women's Studies. Her research interests include the gendered and racialized foundations in Southeast Asia. She is the assistant editor at Amerasia Journal.

Rana Sharif, Women’s Studies, UCLA: “Time and Space in Conflict: Palestinian Women and Zones of Social Abandonment.”

Rana Sharif is a Ph.D. in Women's Studies, UCLA. Currently, her research focuses on the ruptures and inconsistencies of the everyday, mundane, and habitual in the Occupied West Bank Territory of Palestine. She investigates the ways in which temporal and material consequences to occupation forfeit heteronormaly and reconstitute subjectivities. Rana is an Editorial Assistant, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies.

6:00pm-7:30pm: Reception/light dinner