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Nicola Pratt and Sara Salem

Revisiting the “Blue Bra” Incident: Towards a New Agenda for Researching Politics and Popular Culture in Egypt

[Sitt al-banat graffiti. Photo by Nicola Pratt]

December 2016 marked the fifth anniversary of an iconic moment in the Egyptian revolution, when soldiers were filmed and photographed brutally beating a female protester in Tahrir Square, dragging her by her abaya to reveal her torso and her blue bra. The photograph became iconic because it was emblematic of the ongoing military violence against Egyptian protesters. Yet much of the shock value inherent in this photograph is because of the way in which the soldiers pulled ...

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Bio

Nicola Pratt and Sara Salem

Nicola Pratt is Reader in the Politics and International Studies Department at the University of Warwick. She teaches and researches on the international politics of the Middle East, with a particular interest in feminist approaches as well as ‘politics from below.’ Her work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Third World Quarterly and Review of International Studies, amongst others. She is co-author (with Nadje Al-Ali) of What Kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq (University of California Press, 2009) and co-editor with Al-Ali of Women and War in the Middle East (2009), as well as co-editor of Gender, Governance and International Security (2013, with Sophie Richter-Devroe) and Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance: Lessons from the Arab World (2015, with Maha El Said and Lena Meari). Between 2010 and 2013 she was co-director of a British Academy-funded research partnership with Birzeit University’s Institute for Women’s Studies. In 2013-2014, she held a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, researching the history of women’s activism in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, which she is writing up as a monograph to be published with University of California Press. She is currently heading up a new research project, funded by the AHRC, on politics and popular culture in Egypt. She sits on the Council for British Research in the Levant committee and the editorial board for the Critical Military Studies series for University of Edinburgh Press.

 

Sara Salem is a Research and Teaching Fellow at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. She supports the AHRC-funded project, ‘Politics and Popular Culture in Egypt: Contested Narratives of the 25 January Revolution and its Aftermath’ and teaches modules on Middle East Regional Relations and Gender and Development. Sara’s research looks at questions of political economy, feminist and gender studies, postcolonialism, history, and Marxism in the particular context of the Middle East. Her PhD is in the field of International Political Economy (Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University) and looks at the 2011 Egyptian revolution using a Gramscian approach. Sara holds an MA in Development Studies (Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University), with a focus on gender, as well as an MA in Islamic Studies (Leiden University) and a BA in Sociology (American University in Cairo), and she was previously a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. She has recently published journal articles in the European Journal of Women’s Studies, the Review of African Political Economy, and Middle East Topics and Arguments.