About Us

IGWS is a multipurpose and interdisciplinary research center that serves scholars and researchers interested in gender and women's studies in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Africa. The primary function of the institute is to serve as a resource nexus within and through which research projects, conferences, workshops, seminars and academic research on gender and women's issues are engaged.

Modernities and concomitant liberal articulations of social space and place -- delineated by political and cultural visions of the postcolonial world order and its boundaries -- have critically informed women's and gender studies over the past few decades. The challenges to modernist and postcolonial geographies and political imaginaries posed in the historical present are increasingly demanding a reconsideration of the frameworks within which gender scholarship has taken place. Envisioning gender studies in the global south demands not only a critical engagement with the grammar of the modern subject but also its critical repositioning within new global geography. Recognizing the Middle East as an unsatisfactory artificial category, the goal of IGWS is to facilitate these critical demands through a focus on transnational dialogue, cross-regional networking and interdisciplinarity. Although focused on the MENA region as its main target, the institute is committed to fostering scholarly dialogue pertaining to the flows of bodies, ideas and goods between the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Research Projects

  • In conjunction with a Memorandum of Understanding, signed between the Women’s Museum of Denmark and AUC, IGWS and SAPE faculty members, with the Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute and the Women and Memory Forum are hosting three one-week workshops to further knowledge of exhibitionary practices among young Egyptians, Jordanians and Lebanese, during the 2016-2017 academic year. The workshops are to be held in Cairo and Amman. The workshop's cohorts were selected from 23 participants in the summer school on exhibitions and museology held in Aarhus, Denmark, August 2016 in collaboration between the four partners. The themes of the three upcoming workshops evolve around: narratives and objects (Cairo); collections and preservation (Amman); and finally, design and representation (Cairo). The workshop participants will focus on the experiences of work, women and generation in the construction of a public exhibition in Cairo in the summer of 2017.

  • This research project is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK). It is directed by Paul Gready at the Applied Human Rights Institute, University of York (UK) and Martina Rieker (IGWS).

  • The Violence Research and Development project integrates higher education capacity development in violence research and multilateral comparative research, in order to empower academics and institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, by contributing to international violence research and publishing their findings nationally and internationally. The project creates productive synergy by bringing together multilateral cooperation and networking, comparative research and capacity development. All of the program's elements contribute to these goals. In particular, they enhance violence research by supporting universities, stimulate knowledge transfer among actors in many regions of the world through exchanges of postgraduates and researchers, and consolidate research through multilateral comparative analyses. The project is coordinated by the International Centre for Violence Research, University of Bielefeld (Germany) with collaborative partners at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Peru), Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (El Salvador), University of the Punjab (Pakistan), University of Benin City (Nigeria) and The American University in Cairo (Egypt). The project is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany

  • This project locates itself within a second-generation framework regarding the question of women and political participation. Rather than centering the intricate histories of quota systems in various MENA post-colonial statecraft project, this initiative tries to first, gain a fuller understanding of the sites of political engagement that young women in Egypt pursue and imagine as significant and that have the potential of contributing to democratic reforms and social change. Second, we will examine the meaning of political participation among young women in Egypt and how it relates to their everyday practices. Third, we aim to identify the regulatory frameworks that shape ideas and practices regarding political participation among young women. The fourth objective is to outline the emerging forms of community and social networks that are forged by young women in Egypt. The project thus translates into five research questions: 1. What is the meaning of the political and of participation among young women in Egypt? 2. What are the sites of political engagements that young women in Egypt imagine and pursue in an attempt to bring about change? 3.How are the meanings, sites and forms of political participation identified by young women related to and reflected in their everyday practices? 4. What are emerging forms of community and social networks among young women in Egypt? 5. What are the regulatory schemes that shape ideas and practices of political participation among young women in Egypt? "Imagining the Political" is part of a two-year dialogue with similar IDRC funded projects in Ethiopia, Sudan and Tunisia. The Imagining the Political Project is directed by Martina Rieker and Hanan Sabea. It is made possible through a grant from IDRC.

  • A workshop conversation organized by Martina Rieker and Hanan Sabea made possible through a grant from the South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the History of Development (SEPHIS).

  • The "Gender and Region Research Project" critically and comparatively engages geographical regions and their gender agendas. Working towards a deeper understanding of gate-keeping concepts and their operationalization in specific regional contexts, the project addresses questions as to how certain cultural categories in particular geographical regions are systemically picked up by researchers for regional research agendas. By treating regions in relation to each other, this project contributes to the understanding of gender issues across South Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, with a particular focus on bringing some of the insights into the further development of gender and women's research in the Middle East/North Africa field. The "Gender and Region Project" is directed by Martina Rieker and Hanan Sabea. It is made possible through a grant from the Ford Foundation (Cairo).