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Gender and women’s studies scholar talks at LAU

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Dr. Martina Rieker (right), director of the Institute for Gender and Women's Studies at the American University of Cairo, and Dr. Dima Dabbous-Sensenig, director of LAU's Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World.

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Rieker gave a lecture on "Interdisciplinarity and the Emergent Field of Gender and Women's Studies in the Middle East/North Africa Region" on May 20, at LAU Beirut.

June 2, 2010—

Dr. Martina Rieker, the director of the Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies at the American University of Cairo, gave a lecture entitled “Interdisciplinarity and the Emergent Field of Gender and Women’s Studies in the Middle East/North Africa Region” on May 20, at LAU Beirut.

The lecture was organized by the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World at LAU.

“This lecture falls within IWSAW’s endeavor to establish a graduate program in gender studies at LAU, as set in its latest strategic plan,” says Dr. Dima Dabbous-Sensenig, IWSAW director.

According to Rieker, gender and women’s studies is an emerging postgraduate field of study across the MENA region.

“Despite the so-called (gender) rights deficit in the region, most prominently expressed by a battery of UNDP reports over the past decade, social science knowledge about women’s lives in the region is certainly not a blank page,” says Rieker.

Building upon a vast library of development and NGO-driven research on women in the region poses a series of questions for the formulation of this new academic field, Rieker says. These questions include: “What are the grounds upon which this development library is incorporated into the formulation of an academic field? How does an authoritative body of work get established within the parameters of university-based academic learning — beyond a peculiar hybrid form of training that only accidentally takes place within a university framework?”

Rieker also asks, “What are the possibilities, challenges and opportunities for these new interdisciplinary postgraduate fields at a historical moment in which the global university is under duress and variously renegotiating its relationship to the world?”

Among the audience members were LAU professors and students as well as researchers from various women’s NGOs, universities, and representatives from the National Commission for Lebanese Women and the Lebanese Council of Women.


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