Women, Culture, and the 25th January 2011 Egyptian Revolution - 15-17 November 2012 (The University of Manchester)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr Dalia Said Mostafa (Manchester University), and Dr Shuruq Naguib (Lancaster University)

This is a call for papers for two related workshops which will take place in November 2012 (at the University of Manchester) and in March 2013 (in Cairo). This project is funded by the CBRL-BRISMES Research Network (UK), with the aim of emphasising the leading role of Egyptian women activists, writers, and artists in the revolutionary process. In this context, we perceive the 25th January Egyptian Revolution as a process in the making: there were many important catalysts for the revolution over the past decade in Egypt manifested in a significant rise in street protests and demonstrations by large sectors in the society (e.g. government employees, students, factory workers); workers' strikes in work places; and the expansion of a highly politicised youth culture through such forms of resistance as free expression on blogs, protest songs, vernacular lyrics and poetry, novels by new writers, and films by a new generation of filmmakers. Then the revolution was sparked on 25th January 2011 which brought to the fore a huge body of cultural output manifested in songs, slogans, graffiti, new blogs, documentary films, photographs, and various religious discourses. Throughout this ongoing process of resistance and revolution, women from all walks of Egyptian society have crossed age, gender, religious, and class barriers to contribute to and shape this revolution; yet their leading role has been severely undermined by conservative and counter-revolutionary discourses. One of the key questions which we want to examine through this project is the negotiation, contestation and re-configuration of the religious terms of reference dominating Egyptian politics today by women activists, including Islamically-oriented women. This is largely an uncharted area and it could potentially help us go beyond the reductive categories of the secular/religious binary in describing the protest movements before and after the onset of the Egyptian revolution. Thus, these two workshops aim to make visible and critically analyse women's contribution to the revolution to underline how they have been influencing the cultural and political scene in Egypt. Another key aim is to link the Egyptian revolutionary process to other Arab and international contexts in order to develop a theoretical perspective on women, revolution, and political change. The revolution is still ongoing, or as the Egyptians have summed it up in one slogan: Sawra Mostamirra (The Revolution Continues...).

This project is run by Dr. Dalia Said Mostafa, Lecturer in Arabic and Comparative Literature (Middle Eastern Studies, University of Manchester) and Dr. Shuruq Naguib, Lecturer in Islam (Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University)

It is intended that the papers and contributions to the two workshops will appear in a volume entitled Women, Culture, and the 25th January 2011 Egyptian Revolution, and will be edited by Shuruq Naguib and Dalia S. Mostafa.


Workshop One: Women and Political Activism in Egypt
15-17 November 2012 – The University of Manchester (UK)

This workshop will revolve around themes related to the work of women activists from Egypt, particularly those who have made significant contributions to the revolutionary process whether before, during, or after the revolution. A number of Egyptian women activists will be invited as keynote speakers and contributors to the workshop. They will come mainly from the labour and independent trade union movement in Egypt; the "No to Military Trials for Civilians" campaign; members of the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood; and other influential independent political activists.

Please submit an abstract of around 300 words and a short bio of 100 words by Tuesday 24th July 2012. Decision on participating papers will be made in August 2012.

Your paper may address one or more of the following broad themes:

- Women and the different forms of political activism in the Egyptian revolution
- Women, religion, and political activism in Egypt
- Women and the independent trade union movement in Egypt
- Women, political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
- Women and the legal system in Egypt before and after the revolution
- The youth opposition movement in Egypt before and after the revolution
- Egyptian women creating and shaping new forms of media and communication
- Women and contemporary Arab revolutions
- Women in the history of Arab and world revolutions


Workshop Two: Egyptian Women Artists and Writers, and Cultures of Resistance
March 2013 – Cairo (exact dates and venues to be confirmed in due course)

This workshop will focus on the role of Egyptian women writers and artists in the revolutionary process. The workshop is intended to complement the first one by bringing the element of cultural resistance to the struggle for freedom, dignity and social justice, which have been the underlying demands of the Egyptian revolution. A number of Egyptian women writers, filmmakers, musicians, and photographers will be invited as keynote speakers and contributors to the workshop. There will also be an emphasis on the "performative" dimension of the revolution as a political and cultural act.

Participating papers may address one or more of the following broad themes, and can be in either Arabic or English:

- Egyptian women writing the revolution
- Egyptian women musicians and protest music, lyrics, and songs
- Women and popular culture as a form of resistance in Egypt
- Women, literature, and revolution in Egypt
- Egyptian women's graffiti, photography, and documentary filmmaking before and after the revolution
- Women, cinema and the Egyptian revolution
- Performing the revolution and the culture of perfomative arts in Egypt before and after the revolution
- Women artists and writers of the contemporary Arab revolutions
- Women artists and writers in the history of Arab and world revolutions

Please send your abstracts to the workshops' organisers:

Dr Dalia Said Mostafa (The University of Manchester): dalia.s.mostafa@manchester.ac.uk

Dr Shuruq Naguib (The University of Lancaster): shuruqnaguib@lancaster.ac.uk

For any queries, please contact the workshops' organisers above.

Attendance of the two workshops is free.