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Feminisms in Iraq : Beyond the Religious and Secular Divide

This article explores feminisms and women’s activisms in today’s Iraq and highlights the heterogeneity of both their religious and secular expressions in analysing them in relation to each other rather than as distinct. I argue that not only do we need to go beyond the Islamist/secular dichotomy but we need to analyse what’s in-between these categories.

In order to understand their in-betweenness, Iraqi women’s activisms and feminisms have to be examined in their imbricated and complex social, economic and political contexts both discursive and material. I start by refl ecting on conceptual considerations regarding the relationships between feminisms, Muslimness, and Islam(s) and examining notions of piety and morality in contemporary Iraq. Then I explore the context and nature of women’s social and political activisms in Baghdad, Erbil, and Sulaymaniyah and provide an ethnographically informed examination of the different trends of feminisms and women’s political activisms in Iraq and the ways these trends overlap. In doing so I introduce an alternative way of understanding the too often argued secular/Islamist opposition and analyse the relevance and meaning of ‘Islamic/Muslim feminisms’ in the Iraqi context. (...)
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In this article :

On Muslimness, Islam(s), and Feminisms
On Piety, Morality and Respectability
Living and Mobilising in an Occupied and Fragmented Country

Iraqi Women’s Feminisms
Human Rights Feminists
Islamist Activists
Muslim Feminists
Leftist and Radical Feminists
Conclusion : Contextualising Feminisms

Télécharger Feminisms in Iraq : Beyond the Religious and Secular Divide (Zahra Ali) PDF - 152.1 ko
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Les opinions exprimées et les arguments avancés dans cet article demeurent l'entière responsabilité de l'auteur-e et ne reflètent pas nécessairement ceux du CETRI.

Florin Gorgis, Assyrian human rights and women's rights activist from Diana, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, at a meeting in Erbil in her role as General Director of the KRG's High Council of Women Affairs (18 June 2019)
Florin Gorgis, Assyrian human rights and women’s rights activist from Diana, Kurdistan Region, Iraq, at a meeting in Erbil in her role as General Director of the KRG’s High Council of Women Affairs (18 June 2019)

(Photo : Levi Clancy)