Feminisms in Post-Invasion Iraq: Between Ngoization, Militarization and the Struggle for a Civil State

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 12:30
Oral Presentation
Zahra ALI, Rutgers University, USA
Feminisms in post-invasion Iraq: between NGOization, militarization and the struggle for a civil state

Zahra Ali, Rutgers (z.ali@rutgers.edu)

This presentation is based on an in depth sociological study of Iraqi women’s social, political activism and feminisms based on an ethnography of post-2003 Iraqi women’s rights organizations and a detailed research on Iraqi women’s social, economic and political experiences since the formation of the Iraqi state. Through a transnational/postcolonial feminist approach I look at the ways in which gender norms and practices, Iraqi feminist discourses and activisms are shaped and developed through state politics, competing nationalisms, religious, tribal and sectarian dynamics, as well as wars and economic sanctions. In this paper, I particularly look at the context following the US-led invasion and occupation and analyse the realities of Iraqi women’s lives, political activism and feminisms especially the challenges posed by sectarianism and militarism.

I will focus on three dimensions First, the collapse of the state and the institutionalization of a communal-based system imposed by the US-led administration and its concrete consequences and implications for Iraqi feminists’ organizations and mobilizations. I will particularly look at feminists’ strategies of struggles and advocacy in a context characterized by militarization and sectarian violence. Secondly, the NGOization of Iraqi feminists’ organizations through the various networks of US, UN and European funds that finance their initiatives and campaigns. Finally, the involvements of feminists’ organizations within the popular civil society movement that started in 2011 and re-emerged in the context of the invasion of Mosul by the Islamic State Organization in the summer 2014.