Women and War in the Middle East

Transnational Perspectives

Edited by Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt


Presents a critical examination of the relationship between gender and transnationalism in the context of war, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction in the Middle East. This book brings together some of the foremost scholars in the areas of feminist international relations, anthropology, sociology, and history and Middle East studies.
Women and War in the Middle East provides a critical examination of the relationship between gender and transnationalism in the context of war, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction in the Middle East. Critically examining the ways in which the actions of various local and transnational groups - including women's movements, diaspora communities, national governments, non-governmental actors and multilateral bodies - interact to both intentionally and inadvertantly shape the experiences of women in conflict situations, and determine the possibilities for women's participation in peace-building and (post)-conflict reconstruction, as well as the longer-term prospects for peace and security. The volume pays particular attention to the ways in which gender roles, relations and identities are constructed, negotiated and employed within transnational social and political fields in the conflict and post-conflict situations, and their particular consequences for women.

Contributions focus on the two countries with the longest experiences of war and conflict in the Middle East, and which have been subject to the most prominent international interventions of recent years - that is, Iraq and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Issues addressed by contributors include the impact of gender mainstreaming measures by international agencies and NGOs upon the ability of women to participate in peace-building and post-conflict resolution; the consequences for gender relations and identities of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq; and how transnational feminist movements can most effectively support peace building and women's rights in the region.

Based entirely on original empirical research. Women and War in the Middle East brings together some of the foremost scholars in the areas of feminist international relations, feminist international political economy, anthropology, sociology, history and Middle East studies.

Author Bio

Dr Nadje Al-Ali is Reader in Gender Studies and Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on women and gender issues in the Middle East as well as migration and diaspora mobilization. Her recent publications include Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East (2000), New Approaches to Migration (2002), Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present (2007) and, co-authored with Nicola Pratt, What kind of Liberation: Women and the Occupation in Iraq (2009). She is a founding member of Act Together: Women's Action for Iraq (www.acttogether.org).

Nicola Pratt is Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, where she teaches in the areas of Middle East politics and international relations. She is author of Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Arab World (2007) and co-author with Nadje Al-Ali of What Kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (2009), in addition to a number of articles on democratization, human rights, and gender and politics in the Middle East. Her current research interests are in gender and insecurity in the Middle East. She is also a member of Stop the War and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Women and War in the Middle East: Transnational Perspectives - Nadje Al-Ali & Nicola Pratt
  • Part I: Gendering the Neo-liberal, Imperial Project
    • 1. Gendering Informal Economies in Iraq - V. Spike Peterson
    • 2. The United States, the Iraqi Women's Diaspora and Women's 'Empowerment' in Iraq - Nadje Al-Ali & Nicola Pratt
    • 3. Imperialism, 'Post-war Reconstruction' and Kurdish Women's NGOs - Shahrzad Mojab
  • Part II: Revisiting Trans/national Women's Activism in the Context of Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peace-building
    • 4. Gender Mainstreaming and Feminist Organizing in the Middle East and North Africa - Isis Nusair
    • 5. 'Here it's not about Conflict Resolution - We can only resist': Palestinian Women's Activism in Conflict Resolution and Non-Violent Resistance - Sophie Richter-Devroe
  • Part III: Gender, Citizenship, and 'Post'-conflict Reconstruction
    • 6. Fragmented Citizenship: Communalism, Ethnicity and Gender in Iraq - Martina Kamp
    • 7. Gendered Palestinian Citizenship: Women, Legal Pluralism and Post-Conflict Aid - Riina Isotalo
  • Conclusion: Concluding Reflections on Gender and Transnationalism in the Context of Post/Conflict - Nadje Al-Ali & Nicola Pratt:
  • List of contributors


'In a fresh take on two deadly and intractable conflicts, these feminist authors show us an array of participants (governments, agencies, insurgents, donors, elites, movements) acting out the dynamics of gender power. It's a book that should shake up mainstream Middle East studies and empower transnational feminism.'
Cynthia Cockburn, author of From Where We Stand: War, Women's Activism and Feminist Analysis (Zed Books, 2007).

'Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt bring together here some of the smartest feminist analysts of war and militarism in the Middle East. Together they show not only the profound effects of war and militarism on women's lives, but how asking feminist questions can make us all smarter about what causes and perpetuates both.' Cynthia Enloe, author of "The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in the New Age of Empire" 'Written by scholars and activists who share a vision for justice and gender equality in the Middle East, this book offers compelling case-studies, cutting edge analysis and ground-breaking theorizing. It is an invaluable contribution to the scholarship on gender and war in general and on women in conflict and post-conflict situations in the Middle East and beyond.'
Simona Sharoni. SUNY, Plattsburgh '

This is a book which should be read widely... this book has the coherence that so many edited books strive for but fail to achieve.'
Jennifer G. Mathers, Aberystwyth University


Publication Date: 8 October 2009
288 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848131866
eBook ePub: 9781848138049
eBook PDF: 9781848131873
eBook Kindle: 9781780328904
Library Edition: 9781848131859

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