Feminist Spotlight: Nada Elia & Zeina Zaatari

Elia is an academic and advocate against sexual and domestic violence in Arab communities. Her work includes themes ofnadiaelia globalization, narratives of resistance, social movements, and migration. She spent three years as a war journalist documenting the impact of war on Arab women’s lives before joining the academic ranks. She has multiple publications including articles in feminist publications like Incite!‘s The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, for which she was one of the Editors, the NWSA Journal, and MIT’s Journal on the Middle East Special Edition on Arab Feminism (in pdf below).

Her essays include: “Islamophobia and the ‘Privileging’ of Arab American Women” (you’ll need access to project muse to read) in which she questions the simultaneous nationalistic support for the war “to save Arab women” and the opening of space to discuss Muslim women in N. America. She argues that in reducing the conversation to fundamentalism, both discourses negate an opportunity to talk about nationalist projects impacts on women’s rights, the impact of war on women, and the multiple and intersecting issues of oppression that Arab women face and confront as feminists and/or as women.

Her work and commitments focus on violence and resistance and like others featured on this blog throughout its history she has expanded the definitions of violence to include not only domestic and sexual violence but interpersonal and colonial violence, militarism, and other forms that helps us think through how violence as a tool of oppression is interconnected. Elia sits on the National Steering Committee for Incite! and is a member of The Defense of Civil Rights in Academia Project. She is also the President of The Association of Middle East Women’s Studies, founding member of the Radical Arab Women’s Activist Network (RAWAN), and on the Editorial Board of Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. She also has given talks on women, resistance, and political participation in the context of liberation struggles. She is currently working on putting together a conference on the status of Middle East Women’s Studies.

  • MIT Journal of Middle East Studies Special Edition: Gender, Nation, and Belonging.

Zaatari is a Lebanese American feminist who is also a founding member of RAWAN. She has a PhD in Anthropology zeina_zaatariwhich she used to do research on Southern Lebanese women’s organizing. As a scholar she taught courses on Arab feminism, gender, and sexuality and published on women’s freedom in Lebanon as well as spoke on both Araba women’s movements and Arab feminism. She also conducted research on gender, youth, and citizenship to learn the gendered avenues through which people identify with nations and become members of a nation. She was also the project coordinator for the Defense of Civil Rights in Academia (the link to their web page from the page I have linked to does not work, but all the info is on the page I link to anyway). Zatari is currently Senior Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at the Global Fund for Women. And is also a founding member of Sunbula: Arab Feminists for Change as well as a board member of the Partnership for Immigrant Leadership and Action.

3 thoughts on “Feminist Spotlight: Nada Elia & Zeina Zaatari

  1. hey profbw,I was looking for a bio of my good friend and colleague Zeina, and came across this.I am flattered to be highlighted in your blog, how do you know me or about me?One correction: my name is Nada, not Nadia.

  2. welcome to the blog Nada. I am so, so sorry for writing your name incorrectly. I don’t know how that happened, but trust that it has been fixed. Sadly, I have not met either of you but we do have friends in common and I have taught articles from the journal listed above and have great respect for what you are trying to accomplish in broadening Women’s Studies.

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