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Precarities of Academic Freedom: On Detention In Iran - A STATUS/الوضع Interview with Homa Hoodfar

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Noura Erakat speaks with Homa Hoodfar about her ordeal and more broadly about the precarious status of academic freedom and knowledge production.  In early 2016, Homa traveled to Iran for personal and professional reasons. After a month-long stay, just one day before her departure, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard confiscated her travel documents and prevented her from leaving. They arrested her three months later. Professor Hoodfar spent 112 days, or about 4 months, in jail before Iran released her to Oman and finally back home to Montreal. Find out more about her experiences, and how this shaped her perceptions today, ...

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George Wassouf: the People's Champ

[Album cover: Shei Ghareeb (Something Strange) by George Wassouf. Release date: 1993. Image by Moe Ali Nayel.]

Whenever memories take me back to the time when the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) had just ended, one sound always echoes along the scenes: it is the special voice of that one singer who will always function as an anchor pinning down that particular slice of my remembrance of the past. Born in 1961 Kafroun, a Syrian village located in the countryside of Homs, George Wassouf came from a modest family. At the age of sixteen, he moved to Lebanon on his own and managed to find the space to shine as the star singer from within the Lebanese music scene. However, the young singer’s move to Beirut in search of his artistic path was far from a story of easy victories and ...

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حول الجندر والمثلية الجنسية في العالم العربي: مقابلة لمجلة الوضع مع سليم حداد

أجرت ديما ياسين لمجلة "الوضع" هذا الحوار مع سليم حداد، مؤلف وعامل إغاثة اختارته مجلة فورين بوليسي (لسياسة الخارجية) بين المفكرين المائة الأوائل على مستوى العالم سنة ٢٠١٦. تركز المقابلة حول سياسة الجندر في المنطقة اليوم. ولد سليم حداد في مدينة الكويت لأم ألمانية من أصل عراقي وأب لبناني من أصل فلسطيني. وعمل مع “أطباء بلا حدود” ومنظمات دولية أخرى في اليمن وسوريا والعراق وليبيا ولبنان ومصر. روايته الأولى “الجميلة” نشرت في ٢٠١٦، وهي قصة سياسية وشخصية عن حياة مثلي شاب يعيش في سياق ثورات الربيع العربي لعام ٢٠١١. وقد تلقت الرواية الثناء النقدي من كل من النيويوركر والغارديان وصحف أخرى ومُنحت جائزة “ستونول أونور” لعام ٢٠١٧. واختير حداد أيضاً بين المفكرين المائة ...

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Fear and Loathing in Turkish Academia: A Tale of Appeasement and Complicity

[Turkish riot police detained demonstrators who gather at Besiktas to support detained teachers Semih Ozakca and Nuriye Gulmen, in Istanbul on 23 May 2017. Image by Depo Photos/Press Association via openDemocracy.]

It was a “call for papers” like all others. “On behalf of the Turkish Political Economy Society (TPES),” said the organizers of the Fifth TPES Interdisciplinary Workshop on Turkey and Latin America in Comparative Perspective, “we would be happy if you would consider submitting an abstract and help us spread the word by forwarding the CfP to other scholars who may be interested.” Many probably did, among them Yasemin Yılmaz and Orçun Selçuk, two PhD candidates from The City University of New York and Florida International University respectively, who saw this as an opportunity to share their work with and get feedback from their peers and senior academics in Turkey and ...

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حقوق المثليين والمثليات محكّ لحقوق الإنسان

[اسطنبول 2008]

[كتبتُ المقال أدناه في إطار سلسلة المقالات القصيرة التي بدأت أكتبها منذ مدة لجريدة «القدس العربي» وتصدر كل يوم أربعاء. غير أن الجريدة اعتذرت عن نشره، وهي المرة الثانية التي يحدث لها أن تعتذر عن نشر أحد مقالاتي. جاء المقال تعليقاً على أحداث القمع التي وقعت في إسطنبول يوم الأحد في 25 حزيران/يونيو الماضي. وهو تعليق سريع بحكم حدود هذا النوع من الكتابة، دفعني إليه ليس الحدث بذاته فحسب بل أيضاً سكوت الصحافة العربية عنه. ولم يتناول المقال بالطبع جملة أمور متصلة، من تحليل الانزلاق السلطوي في تركيا (الذي كتبت عنه مراراً، هنا على سبيل المثال) إلى الاضطهاد الجنسي بوجه عام في منطقتنا العربية والقضية المحورية في تحديد مستقبلها، ألا وهي القضية النسائية. ويجدر في هذا الصدد ...

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Des bidonvilles aux villes de béton : une somme sur l’évolution urbaine d’Alger

Recensé: Rachid Sidi Boumedine, Bétonvilles contre bidonvilles. Cent ans de bidonvilles à Alger (Alger : APIC éditions, 2016) Il est rare, en Europe ou aux Etats-Unis, que les professionnels de l'urbanisme soient en même temps des chercheurs occupant une position centrale dans le champ académique des études urbaines[1]. Tel est en revanche le cas en Tunisie d'un Morched Chabbi, et en Algérie d'un Rachid Sidi Boumedine, tous deux à la fois sociologues et urbanistes praticiens. Ayant alterné responsabilités officielles et travaux d'études à titre de consultants, ils ont en même temps enseigné, pris part aux débats de leur temps et écrit une œuvre constituée ...

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Call for Targeted Academic Boycott of Turkey

[Image via https://academicboycottofturkey.wordpress.com/]

[This call was released by Academics for Peace on 7 June 2017. The statement is also available in Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kurdish (Sorani), Kurdish (Kurmanji), Norwegian, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. For more information, click here; to sign on to this petition, click here.] CALL FOR TARGETED ACADEMIC BOYCOTT OF TURKEY DO NOT BE A PARTY TO CRIMES IN TURKISH HIGHER EDUCATION Background In January 2016, 2,212 academics working in or researching on Turkey signed a declaration calling on the Turkish government to end the war in the Kurdish region, seek a peaceful ...

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Challenging Knowledge Production in the British Academy: Who Can Speak on Palestine?

[Excerpt from

Earlier this month, a British university hosted a conference on the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation, one of many being organized this year. The conference sought to reflect on fifty years of the “longest standing military occupation in the world,” focusing on “its implications not just for Palestinians, but also for Israelis.” Although academic, the conference promised to include non-academic representation including activists.    In the lead up to the conference, the initial program of speakers changed, with a notable decrease in Palestinian speakers. Asking around our networks, it seemed that some of these people felt uncomfortable with ...

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Paradoxes of ‘New Turkey’

[AKP supporters at a rally following the July 2016 coup attempt. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

“New Turkey” has become since 2014 a popular slogan employed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to express its political project of remaking the nation. However, it has been in a political abyss since the parliamentary elections on 7 June 2015, when the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) gained around thirteen percent of the votes, thereby becoming the first pro-Kurdish party to exceed the electoral threshold in the history of Turkey’s parliamentary democracy. One of the slogans that marked the HDP election campaign was: “We are not going to allow you to become President,” referring to the AKP’s oft-threatened plan to pass constitutional amendments that would grant ...

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Introduction: Remembering Barbara Harlow

[Barbara Harlow speaking in 2012. Image via YouTube.]

In the opening pages of her 1996 book After Lives: Legacies of Revolutionary Writing, a book that focuses on Ghassan Kanafani, Roque Dalton, and Ruth First—all of them revolutionary writers, all of them assassinated—Barbara Harlow notes that all three of these writers were also “committed critics…at a time and place when criticism and commitment often challenged each other’s practices.” She goes on to suggest that “in their own work, as in their persistent example,” such writers “continue to give critical dissent a good name.”[1] These very words apply beautifully to Barbara Harlow herself, the model of a committed critic, whose work and whose “persistent example” ...

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Generations of Resistance

[Barbara Harlow. Image by Tarek El-Ariss.]

Barbara would understand that the task of remembering her is harder without a cat curled on my lap, perched on the desk, or emanating a spirit of companionship from somewhere in the house. "Scratches to the cats" was Barbara's sign-off to me on email exchanges. When she said no—shockingly, if rightly—to my first request that she supervise my dissertation, Barbara sent me home with the advice to crawl into bed with my two cats and to come back with a revised prospectus for her to reconsider. My dissertation cat died last week, just shy of twenty years since the day I brought her home from the shelter in Austin. I'm feeling all over again, if more intimately and ...

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Barbara Harlow and the Necessity of ‘Renewed Histories of the Future’

[Mural of Ghassan Kanafani at the entrance to Bethlehem. Image via arablit.org.]

[Editors’ Note: This essay will appear in Volume 13:3 of the Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies, a themed issue on the gender and sexuality of borders and margins, in November 2017. It was first posted on the JMEWS website, and is reposted here with permission of the author and the journal’s editors.] Barbara Harlow’s commitment to struggles for liberation and justice was always at the same time a commitment to academic inquiry. She entwined them and located emancipatory potential in each even as both were subject to her criticism. She emphasized the contradictions and debates within these projects as generative of what she called “renewed histories of the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Toufic Haddad, Palestine Ltd.: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory

Toufic Haddad, Palestine Ltd.: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory.  London: I.B. Tauris and Center for Palestine Studies, London Middle East Institute, 2016.  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Toufic Haddad (TH): I wrote this book because I wanted to research the profound transformations Western donor aid was having on Palestinian political and economic life across the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) since the signing of the 1993 Oslo peace ...

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تونسيات محرومات من اختيار أزواجهن

تشهد الساحة الحقوقية في تونس جدلاً واسعاً ومتواتراً بشأن منشور لا زال يثير حفيظة المنظمات الحقوقية. فمن فترة لأخرى تصدح أصوات المدافعين عن حقوق المرأة التونسية تطالب بإلغاء منشور يصفه البعض بأنه منشور ظالم ومجحف. المنشور الصادر عن وزير العدل والمؤرخ في 5 نوفمبر 1973 مازال يمنع ضباط الحالة المدنية في تونس وعدول الإشهاد من إبرام عقود زواج تونسيات مسلمات بغير المسلمين. يعد زواج التونسية المسلمة بغير المسلم باطلاً وغير قانوني لكن يجوز لها في المقابل إثبات اشهار الزوج غير المسلم إسلامه لدى مفتي ...

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New Texts Out Now: Sheila Carapico, ed., Arabia Incognita: Dispatches from Yemen and the Gulf

Sheila Carapico, editor,  Arabia Incognita: Dispatches from Yemen and the Gulf. Charlottesville: Just World Books, 2015.  Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Sheila Carapico (SC): This book began as an activist political project, a form of protest against a cruel war. Colleagues at MERIP were thinking of compiling a simple PDF reader to help students and others understand the background to the military intervention in Yemen the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called Operation Decisive Storm ...

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مسار الحراك المثلي في تونس: مقابلة لمجلة الوضع مع بدر بَعبو

أجرت تانيا الخوري لمجلة "الوضع" هذا الحوار مع  بدر بَعبو، ناشط تونسي شاب وعضو مؤسس في "دمج" الجمعية التونسية للعدالة والمساواة. تركز المقابلة على قضايا الجندر والحراك المثلي في تونس بدر بَعبو ناشط تونسي شاب وعضو مؤسس في "دمج" الجمعية التونسية للعدالة والمساواة والتي تختص بالحقوق الجندرية والجنسانية في تونس. بدر هو أيضاً عضو في "تحالف الميم" الذي يناصر حقوق المثليين والمتحولين في الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا  

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Life in a Street: How Informal Mechanisms Govern Scarce Public Spaces in Nabaa, Beirut

The informal mechanisms of organization in everyday public life have been at the core of concerns of many researchers and practitioners (e.g., Rukmana and Hegel in Indonesia, Mehrotra in India, and Nagati in Egypt). While examining these processes in different contexts, the focus was typically on their interplay with "formal" regulations or in relation to the private built environment. Few highlighted the significance of these informal arrangements per se and their importance in governing ...

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استذكار غرامشي

"ماذا سيكون رأي غرامشي حيال مآزقنا الحالية؟" تساءلَ رئيس بلدية مدينة كالياري الإيطالية اليساري الشاب ماسيمو زيدا ثم أجاب: "ربما سيفكّر بأن أمورنا تحسنت، لكننا نواجه أيضاً مشاكل كثيرة في سردينيا... ولهذا نحتاج إلى أن نتنظّم". بهذا التصريح أعلن رئيس البلدية الذي يرتدي الجينزالأزرق عام 2017 "عاماً لغرامشي" وافتتح مؤتمر "قرن من الثورات: مسارات غرامشية في العالم". وكان 27 نيسان لحظة مناسبة لتسليط الضوء من جديد على حياة وأعمال أنطونيو غرامشي في الذكرى الثمانين لموته، في ...

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Morocco's Hirak Movement: The People Versus the Makhzen

Morocco’s Hirak protests are the latest bout in the tug-of-war between the Makhzen (Moroccan regime) and the victims of hogra. The late Mouhcine Fikri, the political prisoner Nasser Zefzafi, and Nawal Ben Aissa have emerged as the emblematic figures of this movement. Al Hirak al Chaabi, or the Popular Movement, is an independent, popular movement that was started in the northern Moroccan city of Al Hoceima in October 2016 by local inhabitants who were fed up with the status quo. The protests have ...

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Palestine Media Roundup (May 29)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Palestine and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Palestine Page co-editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each roundup to Palestine@jadaliyya.com.] The Occupation Forces Ten Palestinians Were Injured By Gunfire After Palestinian Man Loses Control Of His Automatic Weapon The injuries were sustained during a march in solidarity with the ...

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The Palestinian Litmus Test

After three years of unprecedentedly open debate, the membership of the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) membership is finally voting on the Palestinian call to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Voting continues through May. Unlike other organizations that have considered the issue, however, the MLA is not voting on whether or not to boycott. Instead, we are voting on a resolution (2017-1) that would commit the association not to endorse the boycott, even though a pro- boycott ...

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Barbara Harlow: The Formative Egyptian Period

In her late twenties, she arrived in Egypt of the late 1970s looking like a teenager who lost her way and ended up in teeming Cairo. Doris Shoukri, then chair of the department of English and Comparative Literature (ECLT) at the American University in Cairo (AUC), had interviewed her in Berlin in 1977 for her first teaching position as an assistant professor. Doris recalls Barbara, looking like a twelve-year-old blond waif with flowers in her hands. The animated discussion that followed at dinner ...

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Poetry and Partition: Barbara Harlow’s Insistence on the ‘Here-and-Now’ of Historical Reality

Barbara Harlow held a visiting position at the National University of Ireland in Galway in the spring of 1992. That same year, she published an essay in Polygraph titled “Drawing the Line: Cultural Politics and the Legacy of Partition,” which offered comparative readings of literature across three colonial contexts: Ireland, India, and Palestine.[1] During the fall semester, upon her return from Ireland to the University of Texas, Austin, where she had been employed since 1985, she taught an English ...

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The Occupation of Literature and Books That Are Difficult to Get

When I was one of Barbara Harlow’s beginning PhD students in Ethnic and Third World Literatures at the University of Texas at Austin, I had the temerity one day to ask her in her office how she justified sitting behind a desk, reading and writing, when she was so acutely aware of all the terrible things going on in this world, was so attuned to the “imperative to take sides,” as she would insist on any number of occasions. “We can’t afford to give up any space,” was her very quick reply, through her wry ...

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