Special Issue, Dalhousie French Studies: Women from the Maghreb

full name / name of organization: 
Dalhousie French Studies

From the revolutionaries of Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers, the heroines in films by directors such as Nadir Moknèche, Raja Amari and Laïla Marrakchi, to the feminist voices of Hélé Béji's and Gisèle Halimi's texts or the incisive critique of phallocentric discourse of Fatima Mernissi's essays, women from the Maghreb have and continue to be associated with the hopes of modernity, freedom, and democracy. In the 21st century, they have emerged as important players in the socio-political and cultural transformations that have taken place since independence from France. Their roles in civic society and their activism through the associative movements defending women's rights have been central in shaping the larger struggle for democracy and citizenship. Responding to the social and political changes that have in the past few decades altered their society, women artists, filmmakers, painters, writers and activists from the Maghreb have tremendously enriched the corpus of postcolonial representations and scholarship.
Our aim is to study representations of Maghrebian women and the multiple aspects of their lives through literary or artistic productions. To this end, this issue calls for studies of novels, short stories, poems, music, art, film and the media, by both female and male writers—established or lesser known, francophone or other. Contributions will seek to analyze the economic, social, juridical and political contexts underpinning, or at times contradicting cultural representations of women and their creative works. We seek to address contemporary Maghrebian women's creative endeavors as well as their personal and professional hopes and aesthetic preoccupations from a variety of perspectives and theoretical backgrounds, i.e. literary, sociological, socioeconomic, anthropological, political, musical, cinematographic, or religious. Through such an approach, this special issue seeks to address the struggles, concerns, aspirations, dreams and hopes of those women writers, intellectuals and artists who write from and/or about the geopolitical and cultural vantage point of the Maghreb. This is particularly important at a time of increasing isolation of the Muslim-Arab world as the result of the "war on terror," tighter visa rules and traveling restrictions. Some of the questions we are hoping to address are: What is the relationship between socio-economic changes and women's cultural and literary productions and artistic expressions? How do women writers and artists view their past, current and future roles as professionals, intellectuals, artists, writers, individuals, spouses, mothers, breadwinners and/or caretakers? What is "acceptable" female behavior and what new forms of transgressive gender practices emerge as the result of economic and political changes? To what extent do satellite dishes, the worldwide web and other state-of-the-art modes of communication (facebook, twitter, blogs, email, skype, etc.) impact Maghrebian women's views of the world within and beyond their geographical location? We also hope to address the question of the instrumentalization of Maghrebian women by the media. We especially welcome interviews with Maghrebi journalists, teachers, musicians, film directors and novelists.
Areas of interest could include but are not limited to:
· Women within the family and in the work world
· Challenges faced by single women versus married women
· Struggles and preoccupations of daily life and their impact on creativity and cultural productions
· Mothering and the work world
· Changing notions of relationship, family and parenting – the issue of polygamy
· Tradition versus societal changes and or demands
· Women and education
· Female "subjectivity"
· Transgressive sexualities
· Gender relations, law and religion
· Genealogy, tradition, and generational shifts
· Culture, history and identitary complexities
· Trauma and systemic violence
· The role of religion and religious fundamentalism, secular versus religious ideologies
· The emergence of Islamic feminism
· The role of the French/Arabic/Berber (and other languages in the case of migrant literature) languages in writing and in daily life
· Language use and female "subjectivity"
· Writing in cyberspace
· Literary vs. journalistic discourse and the New Media
Interested contributors should submit a 500 word abstract by February 1, 2011 to femmesdumaghreb@gmail.com. Deadline for completed articles is October 1, 2011. Articles must follow MLA style and not exceed 5,000 words.
Guest editors contact information:
Christa Jones, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of French
Languages, Philosophy & Speech Communication
0720 Old Main Hill
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-0720

Anissa Talahite-Moodley, Ph.D.
Women and Gender Studies Institute
New College, University of Toronto
40 Willcocks Street,
Ontario M5S 1C6