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Nicola Pratt


How the West Undermined Women’s Rights in the Arab World

[Mother of the martyr. Photo by Nicola Pratt]

This article is based on some of the research that I have conducted over the past two years on women’s activism in Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan, from independence until the Arab uprisings. I collected over one hundred personal narratives from middle class women activists of different generations. This research was initially framed in terms of what is perceived to be a ‘gender paradox’: despite over a century of women’s activism, why do women in Arab countries continue to face ...

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Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: Myths and Realities

At the time of writing, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) members are asked to vote for a motion that, if endorsed, would pave the way for a discussion about the BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaign against Israel. This article is not a defense of the motion, which I wholeheartedly support, but is a contribution to what I hope will be a sustained discussion over the year about BDS itself. In 2002, Palestinian civil society launched a call for citizens ...

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Egyptian Women: Between Revolution, Counter-Revolution, Orientalism, and "Authenticity"

[Samira Ibrahim versus Aliaa El-Mahdi. Photo by Suzeeinthecity]

The Egyptian revolution appears to present a “gender paradox.” On the one hand, women have been marginalized in many formal political institutions since the downfall of Hosni Mubarak. On the other hand, representations and images of women and women’s bodies have been ubiquitous. Representations of women through media and art, as well as the regulation of women’s sexuality through state laws and constitutions are an essential part of defining national identity and ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nicola Pratt, The Gender Logics of Resistance to the "War on Terror"

[Cover of

Nicola Pratt, "The Gender Logics of Resistance to the 'War on Terror': Constructing Sex-Gender Difference Through the Erasure of Patriarchy in the Middle East." Third World Quarterly 33:10 (2012). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this article? Nicola Pratt (NP): This article is based on fieldwork conducted in 2007 and 2008 at the “Cairo Conferences,” which were a series of conferences in opposition to imperialism, Zionism, neoliberalism, and dictatorship. ...

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Settler Colonialism, Normalization, and Resistance at the Zionist Borders

[Ben Gurion Airport. Image from WikiMedia Commons.]

A visit to Palestine in April has led me to reflect on Israel’s border practices and how they relate to the performance of Israel as a settler colonial state. I have also considered whether by subjecting myself to these border practices I am contributing to the reproduction of Israel’s sovereignty over the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In other words, is travelling to Palestine an act of normalization of Israel’s occupation or of solidarity with Palestinians under ...

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Bringing the Revolution to Campus: An Interview with March 9 Activist Laila Soueif

[Poster calling for

Laila Soueif, assistant professor of mathematics, Cairo University, is one of the founding members of the March 9 Movement for the Independence of Universities. The movement was founded in 2004 and became a part of the growing terrain of dissent that preceded the January 25 revolution (alongside Kifaya and other movements for change in different quarters). March 9 has opposed state security, government, and other ideological interventions into Egyptian university ...

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Debating the Future of the Arab Revolutions in Cairo: Democracy, Imperialism and Neoliberalism

[Tree in Tahrir Square covered with the revolution's demands. Image by Nicola Pratt.]

Egyptian, Arab and international socialists and progressive forces met in Cairo 3-5 June, to discuss the future of the Arab revolutions in light of imperialism, Zionism and global capitalism. The Forum in Solidarity with the Arab Revolutions was organized by a number of progressive groups in Egypt and represented the first attempt to revive the annual Cairo Conference against Imperialism and Zionism, which was shut down by the Egyptian authorities in 2009. The Cairo ...

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Nicola Pratt


Nicola Pratt is Associate Professor of the International Politics of the Middle East at the University of Warwick, UK. 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, also with Nadje Al-Ali, of Women and War in the Middle East (Zed Press, 2009). She has also written on human rights, civil society and democratization in the Arab world, including Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Arab World (Lynne Rienner, 2007). Her current research is on gendering the politics of in/security in the Middle East, with a focus on Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine and she is joint leader of the Reconceptualising Gender research network between Warwick and Birzeit University (Palestine). Nicola lived for about 7 years in Egypt during the 1990s, during which time she undertook research for her doctoral dissertation on the politics of human rights NGOs. She is a member of Stop the War UK, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.