Nadje Al-Ali

Director, Middle East Studies, Robert Family Professor of International Studies, Professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies
111 Thayer Street, Room 211
Areas of Expertise Gender, Human Rights, Race, Identity & Ethnicity, Religion & Politics, Social Movements
Areas of Interest Middle East; gender; feminism; war and conflict; migration and diaspora studies


Nadje Al-Ali is Robert Family Professor of International Studies and Professor of Anthropology and Middle East Studies. Her main research interests revolve around feminist activism and gendered mobilization, with a focus on Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and the Kurdish political movement. Her publications include "What kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq" (2009, University of California Press, co-authored with Nicola Pratt); "Women and War in the Middle East: Transnational Perspectives" (Zed Books, 2009, co-edited with Nicola Pratt); "Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present" (2007, Zed Books), and "Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East" (Cambridge University Press 2000. Her co-edited book with Deborah al-Najjar entitled "We are Iraqis: Aesthetics & Politics in a Time of War" (Syracuse University Press) won the 2014 Arab-American book prize for non-fiction. Professor Al-Ali is on the advisory board of kohl: a journal of body and gender research and has been involved in several feminist organizations and campaigns transnationally.


My research to date has focused on women’s and gendered mobilizations in the Middle East (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and the Kurdish regions) as well as the gendered dimensions of transnational migration and diaspora mobilization (with reference to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and the Kurdish political movement).

Recently I have finished co-edited a book entitled "Gender, Islam & Governance" (co-edited with Deniz Kandiyoti and Katherine Spellman), which builds on Deniz Kandiyoti’s classic edited volume "Women, Islam & the State" (1991). In this volume, we are exploring the links between the politics of gender and governance issues (both global and domestic) in relation to a selected number of Muslim-majority countries as well as Muslim diasporas.

Currently, I am engaged in research for a new book project with the working title "Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East" to be published by Cambridge University Press. Building on previous research and activism in relation to Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and the Kurdish movement, I am exploring the centrality of gender and sexuality for understanding key developments and processes in the region. One of the specific angles I am exploring is the complex relationship between knowledge production about gender and sexuality with reference to the Middle East in academic and activist contexts.


2019. (ed. with Deniz Kandiyoti & Kathryn Spellman) Gender, Governance & Islam. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press. 

2019. ‘Feminist dilemmas: how to talk about gender-based violence with reference to the Middle East?’, Feminist Review; Issue 122: 16– 31.

2019. ‘Iraq: Gendering violence, sectarianisms and authoritarianism’, in Deniz Kandiyoti, Nadje Al-Ali & Kathryn Spellman (eds), Gender, Governance & Islam. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press. 

2019 (with Ghiwa Sayegh). ‘Feminist and Queer Perspectives on West Asia’, in Queer Asia (eds. Jonathan Daniel Luther & Jennifer Ung Loh). London & New York: Zed Books. 

2018. 'Sexual violence in Iraq: Challenges for transnational feminist politics.' European Journal of Women’s Studies. Vol. 25(1): 10–27.

2018. (with Latif Tas) ‘Reconsidering Nationalism and Feminism: The Kurdish Political Movement in Turkey’, in Nations & Nationalism 24 (2): 453-473. 

2018. ‘Arab Family Studies: Iraq’, in Arab Family Studies: Critical Reviews, ed. by Suad Joseph, Syracuse: University of Syracuse Press.  


Transnational Feminist Mobilizations & Knowledge Production

Gender & Sexuality in the Middle East

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