Call for Papers: Gender, Intersectionality, and Political Change in Contemporary Middle East Conflicts

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has among the highest documented rates of gender-based violence and discrimination. Despite the long history of struggle by feminist movements and women rights defenders, women in the region still suffer from persistent and multifaceted forms of discrimination and violence, which rely on a nexus of political, legal, social, and cultural norms and as well as power structures.

Since the beginning of the Arab Uprisings in late 2010 and early 2011, greater attention has been given to gender and women’s issues in the MENA region. The uprisings opened up spaces for wider and deeper societal debate and dialogue on gender equality, women’s presence in the public sphere, and gender-based violence, among other issues. At the same time, the uprisings inspired new and increasingly diverse discourses and tools of engagement for women to push for social and political change. On one hand, arguments can be made that there has been progress or improvements in regards to women’s situations throughout the region. On the other hand, there has been a documented rise in political and social violence and discrimination against women in the region.

Although gender scholarship has come under scrutiny since the 1970s, critical approaches show that there remain unresolved epistemological, methodological, and political issues that must be addressed, especially with regard to gender knowledge production on – and in – the MENA region. The uprisings and their aftermaths raise many research questions, shedding light on the need to adopt new frameworks, perspectives and tools of analysis, in order to engage with – and understand – the complex and ongoing changes on the ground. In particular, questions regarding gender, conflict, and political and social change are timely and urgent, warranting further efforts from researchers across a variety of disciplines pertaining to the Middle East and North Africa.

Under the theme ‘Gender, Intersectionality, and Political Change in Contemporary Middle East Conflicts’, Rowaq Arabi, a double-blind peer-reviewed journal specialised in human rights studies, calls for original research exploring critical approaches to the study of gender and authoritarianism in the MENA region. Papers of 5000-7000 words should be submitted by email to rowaq.editors@cihrs.org no later than midnight of 17 October 2021.

For questions concerning research themes, contact guest editor Dr Kholoud Saber Barakat by email at kholoud.barakat@uclouvain.be. Submissions should consist of two separate files: an anonymised complete manuscript, and a cover page that has the manuscript’s title, author’s name and details, and a 150-word abstract. Articles with the most relevant content and of the highest quality will be selected and sent for peer-review. Once published, authors will be financially compensated for their contributions.

Rowaq Arabi suggests the following sub-topics for research, while welcoming other suggestions relevant to the main theme of this call:

  • The relationship between political authoritarianism and gender-based violence and discrimination.
  • Rising gender-based and sexual violence in Arab societies, and states’ responses to it. This may include, but is not limited to, analysis of new legislation and governmental entities.
  • Gendered political violence against women political activists and human rights defenders in the MENA region.
  • Gendered prosecutions of freedom of expression on social media.
  • Gender-based violence and discrimination against women from minority groups in the region.
  • The impact of increased militarisation on women’s situations and gender issues.
  • Collective actions, new initiatives and social mobilisations in response to gender-based violence and discrimination.
  • The weaponisation of gender and women’s bodies in armed conflicts.
  • Women’s modes of resistance to violence in conflict and post-conflict settings in the region.
  • Women’s engagements in political mobilisation during and after the Arab Uprisings, and their engagements in political transition processes.
  • Gender issues and women’s rights violations within civil society itself.
  • The recent discourses of Islamist groups and religious institutions on gender and women’s issues.
  • Political instrumentalisation of gender discourses and women’s rights with authoritarian regimes.
  • Recent debates on family laws in MENA countries.
  • The process of, and attempts to, ‘gender’ human rights discourses and movements in the region after 2011 (e.g., discussing the extent to which human rights organisations /movements are becoming more active in – and sensitive to – women’s rights and gender issues after 2011).

To read more about Rowaq Arabi, its history in print since 1996 and its ongoing online transition, in addition to our publication guidelines, please refer to this link.

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