A History of Arab Feminism
Tue 7 Feb, 7pm
SPACE Mare Street
led by Giulia Damaini
This meeting of the Feminist Duration Reading Group encompasses a screening of the film Feminism Inshallah: A History of Arab Feminism, directed by Feriel Ben Mahmou, 2014 (55 mins). Feminism Inshallah looks at the history of the movement over the last 150 years across different Arab countries, accounting for the work of feminist pioneers as well as more recent activists during the Arab Spring. Although the film lacks a deep analysis of issues such as class and economic privilege, it draws on unreleased archival footage and multigenerational interviews to offer a vivid and comprehensive portrait of different movements.
“The struggle for Muslim women’s emancipation is often portrayed stereotypically as a showdown between Western and Islamic values, but Arab feminism has existed for more than a century. This groundbreaking documentary recounts Arab feminism’s largely unknown story, from its taboo-shattering birth in Egypt by feminist pioneers up through viral Internet campaigns by today’s tech-savvy young activists during the Arab Spring. Moving from Tunisia to Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, filmmaker and author Feriel Ben Mahmoud tracks the progress of Arab women in their long march to assert their full rights and achieve empowerment.”
This is the first of a two-part focus on Arab feminisms in the Feminist Duration Reading Group, led by Giulia Damaini. The next meeting, on Tue 7 March, explores texts by Fatema Mernissi and Nawal El Saadawi.