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Angie Abdelmonem, Rahma Esther Bavelaar, Elisa Wynne-Hughes, and Susana Galán


The 'Taharrush' Connection: Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and Sexual Violence in Germany and Beyond

[Refugees Welcome Demo London, 12 September 2015. Photo by David Holt via Creative Commons.]

New Year’s Eve 2016 witnessed the collective public sexual harassment and assault of dozens of women during celebrations in Cologne, Germany, reportedly by more than one thousand men. Similar, smaller-scale incidents were reported in other German cities, like Hamburg and Stuttgart. In the aftermath of the attacks, numerous media outlets quoted alleged police sources describing the perpetrators as men “of Arab or North African appearance”; of “Middle Eastern appearance”; or ...

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Angie Abdelmonem is a PhD candidate in Anthropology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. Her research specialization is on gender, sexual violence, NGOs and social movements in Egypt and the Middle East.

Rahma Esther Bavelaar is a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam in the ERC-funded research program “Shifts in Muslim Marriage Practices.” Her research in Egypt focuses on interfaith marriage and the intersections of familial, legal, literary, and 'religious' constructions of religious difference. She is also the co-founder of Meld Islamofobie (Report Islamophobia), the first grassroots citizen initiative that systematically documents and analyses islamophobic violence in the Netherlands.

Elisa Wynne-Hughes is a Lecturer in International Relations at Cardiff University. Her research is motivated by a concern to better understand the social construction, positioning and governance of subjects through everyday (popular culture) practices, most recently examining the politics of Western tourism in Cairo. Building from this research she is writing a politicised guidebook, The Political Planet, Cairo, to encourage more inclusive tourism visions and policies. She is also working on projects that examine how popular representations of street harassment in Cairo reinforce international and Egyptian security policies that target ‘bad’ Arab/Muslim males as (sexually) threatening. Finally, she is examining the tactics of transnational stop street harassment groups. She analyses the potentially emancipatory and exclusionary potentials of their everyday governance and security strategies.

Susana Galán is a PhD Candidate in Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University (NJ, USA). She has a BA in Journalism from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), MA in European Studies at the Europa Universität Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder (Germany), and MA in Political Analysis from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain). Her dissertation focuses on autonomous practices of self-defense and community intervention against public sexual violence in Egypt, and their impact on gendered urban dynamics after the 2011 Revolution. More broadly, she is interested in exploring the potential, limitations, and paradoxes of online sites and privatized urban developments for the experimentation with and enactment of alternative, dissonant and subversive gendered performances. Her work has been published in the Journal of International Women's Studies, the Observatori del Conflicte Social and Cairobserver. She has also co-edited a special issue on “Gendered Bodies in the Protest Sphere” for Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.