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WCED Lecture. “Is It Time to Stop Calling It the ‘Arab Spring’? Reconsidering North Africa through the Eyes of Women’s Rights Defenders.”

Thursday, November 7, 2013
5:00 AM
1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University

Professor Bennoune will present the “Arab Spring” chapter of her forthcoming book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism. Entitled “Sidi Bouzid Blues and the Green Wave: Journeys through the Arab Spring and Fall,” this aspect of her work recounts the hopes and concerns of women’s rights defenders in Tunisia and Egypt after the revolutions of 2011. In particular, it focuses on the challenges to their work posed by the subsequent rise of fundamentalism in their countries, and the difficult strategic choices that this gives rise to in transition periods. Having escaped relatively secular autocracies, are they now doomed to theocracy? Or can they break out of the so-called Islamist dilemma which offers these as the only available alternatives?

Bennoune will also discuss her follow up research across the region during summer 2013, in light of recent developments, including the removal of Mohamed Morsi as President of Egypt, the recent twentieth anniversary of the start of Algeria’s “dar decade” and the ongoing drafting of the new Tunisian constitution.

Respondent: Fatma Müge Göçek, professor of sociology, U-M

Karima Bennoune is Professor of Law at the University of California-Davis, where she teaches courses on issues related to international law and human rights. She graduated from a joint program in law and Middle Eastern and North African studies at the University of Michigan, earning a J.D. cum laude and an M.A., as well as a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. She came to UC Davis after ten years at Rutgers School of Law-Newark where she was Professor of Law and Arthur L. Dickson Scholar. Professor Bennoune has also been a visiting scholar and visiting professor at the University of Michigan Law School where she won the L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in teaching. Her publications have appeared in many leading academic journals, and have been widely cited by news media, NGOs, and governmental reports. She has shared her expertise as a consultant for a number of organizations, and has made frequent media appearances and contributions, in addition to presenting lectures in academic settings around the world. Her human rights field missions have included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Korea, Thailand, and Tunisia.

Sponsors: WCED, CMENAS, Islamic Studies Program