Nadine Naber Lecture: “Radical Mothering and the Egyptian Revolution”

Date / Time

September 17, 2019

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

This lecture is based upon ethnographic research with leftist women activists who participated in the Egyptian revolution of 2011 while mothering young children. It seeks to “unsentimentalize mothering” by exploring its radical potentials within the context of revolution. I argue that mothering is constituted by a radical potential precisely because—contrary to what mainstream narratives and some feminist accounts would suggest—their mothering is a practice of resistance to state violence rather than a sentimentalized identity confined to domestic space that supports the nation. Overall, this essay challenges nationalist representations of the Egyptian revolution such as sensationalized notions of the grieving mother as an icon of the suffering of Egyptian people who lacks revolutionary agency.

Nadine Naber is a Professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and the Global Asian Studies Program at the University of Illinois, Chicago. At UIC, she is founding director of the Arab American Cultural Center.  She is author of Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism (NYU Press, 2012) and co-editor of the books Race and Arab Americans (Syracuse University Press, 2008); Arab and Arab American Feminisms (Syracuse University Press, 2010); and The Color of Violence (South End Press, 2006). Her current research project explores the contributions of women activists to social movements seeking regime change in Egypt and Lebanon. Dr. Naber has served as an expert author for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia and served as the Open Society Foundation’s advisor to the Institute of Women’s Studies at Birzeit University in Palestine. Dr. Naber has served on the boards and steering committees of many organizations and social movements such as Al Shabakah; the Journal of Palestine Studies; Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP); the Arab American Studies Association; INCITE! Women and Gender Non-Conforming People against Violence;  the Women of Color Resource Center; and the American Studies Association.

A reception will follow.