Course Offerings

499 Senior Seminar in Middle Eastern Studies

01:685:499 Senior Seminar in Middle Eastern Studies:
Gender, Sexuality and Women's Rights Movements for Social Justice - Synopsis (3 credits)

Instructor: Fakrhi Haghani
Lucy Stone Hall B-304

Course Description
The question of feminism and women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa has generally been represented through a universalizing image of the negative relationship between feminism and modernity and the existing incompatibility between Islam and secularism. But how often does our analysis include the ways that the question of women have formed, and been shaped by the historical and contemporary debates and discourses on women's sexuality and body, construction of gender, and women's rights for justice?

This seminar introduces students to key texts and debates from/about the Middle East and North Africa since the dawn of the twentieth century. A wide range of readings from autobiographies to historical essay, writings of women, fiction, memoire, and recent sources in popular culture, media, and online sources will be analyzed. Some of the topics we discuss include power, private property and the Institution of Patriarchy; women's awakening; state feminism; Islamist feminisms; Orientalist discourse, colonialism, and Muslim women; women, wars and conflicts; women and global consumer culture; body, sexuality and the question of citizenship; social media and women, activism, art and the rise of social justice and revolutionary movements.

Course Learning Goals
By taking this course, students develop a critical approach to the question of feminism, women, gender, sexuality, and women's mobilization for social justice in Modern Middle East and North Africa through class discussions, and improve their writing and research skills by producing a final research paper and several reports.

*This course is cross-listed with 01:988:396:05. Credit will not be given for both courses.

Required Texts
Parsipur, Shahrnush. Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran.
Sha'rawi, Hoda. Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist
(Additional readings on Sakai)

Sample Films
Umm Kulthum: A Voice Like Egypt by Michal Goldman, (1996, 2006)
When a Woman Sings by Marianne Khoury, 2013
Women Without Men by Shirin Neshat
Nawal El Saadawi: "Creativity, Women and Dissidence"
Nose, Iranian Style by Mehrdad Oskui
Be Like Others by Tanaz Eshaghian


Attendance 10%
Participate in weekly discussions 15%
Presentations 15%
Mid-Term project 20%
Written response papers 20%
Final research paper 20%