9 Jun 2019

Women and Politics: MENA Experiences

“Women and Politics: MENA Experiences”
June 2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE – October 2019 in Rabat, Morocco

We are pleased to announce a Call for Applications from early-career scholars who would like to participate in the 2019 MENA Workshops. This two-part program is a unique opportunity to network with colleagues from across the MENA region and develop research on the various political and socio-economic changes related to Women and Politics in the MENA region. The first workshop will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE from June 9-13, in partnership with New York University-Abu Dhabi. The second workshop will be held in Rabat Morocco from October 14-18. The organizers will cover participation costs (including travel, lodging, and materials) for up to 20 qualified applicants.

The deadline for applications is Saturday March 23, 2019. See the Call for Applications.pdf.

The 2019 program is part of the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) multi-year effort to support political science research among early-career scholars in the Arab Middle East and North Africa and strengthen research networks linking Arab scholars with their colleagues overseas. Previous workshops have been organized in cooperation with the American University in Cairo, the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) in Amman, the Center for Maghreb Studies in Tunis (CEMAT), Lebanese American University, Qatar University’s Social and Economic Survey Research Institute, and the American University of Beirut’s Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, among others.

Eligible Participants
The workshop is intended for citizens of Arab MENA countries who are currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program or completing a post-doctoral fellowship. Non-citizens of Arab MENA countries who are currently based at universities or research institutes in the Arab MENA region may also submit an application for consideration. The program is open to scholars in political science and other social science disciplines undertaking research related to the workshop theme. Interested scholars should apply with a manuscript or research project in progress which they will share at the first workshop week, improve over the interim period, and present formally during the second workshop week. Professional fluency in English is required. Applications from scholars working on the topics related to the workshop theme (as described below) are especially encouraged.

Workshop Theme
The 2019 workshops will be led by Naima Benlarabi (Ibn Tofail University, Morocco), Rachel Brulé (New York University-Abu Dhabi, UAE), Hanane Darhour (Polydisciplinary Faculty of Ouarzazate, Morocco), Liv Tønnessen (Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway), and Aili Mari Tripp (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA). Together with selected workshop fellows, these co-leaders aim to strengthen the capacities and resources for theoretical and empirical scholarship on politics and gender within the MENA region. Attendees will review the recent literature and focus discussion on three areas of analysis. This first theme will examine women’s representation in legislatures, local government, the executive, and the judiciary as related to factors such as such gender quotas, decentralization, and institutional change. A second theme will look at legal reform, Islamic jurisprudence, and gender equality as related to women’s rights reforms and women’s economic empowerment. The third theme will look at women’s movements and political change as related to policy outcomes, public opinion, international influences, and domestic coalition building. In doing so, attendees will explore and answer questions such as:

Women and Political Representation

  • What accounts for different levels of female representation in the MENA region?
  • Does the numerical increase in women representatives lead to more women’s rights legislation?
  • Do the women parliamentarians see themselves as advocating for women’s rights issues?
  • How have different parties responded to quotas?

Legal Reform, Islamic Jurisprudence and Gender Equality

  • What are the different pathways to gender reform in the MENA region?
  • Which factors influence adoption of gender reforms?
  • What are the possibilities and limitations of gender reform in authoritarian regimes?
  • What explains backlash against reforms?
  • What are the varied responses of the religious establishment to gender reforms?
  • How are women’s rights instrumentalized for other purposes by the political elite?

Women’s Movements and Political Change

  • What are the influences on women’s movements (domestic, international, donors, parties etc.)?
  • Under what conditions have women’s movements been most successful and around which issues?
  • What are generational differences in movements?
  • What is the impact of Islamic feminism?

To provide a framework for reflection and investigation, attendees will critically assess the various research designs and methodological choices used to answer these research questions, and their utility in testing hypotheses. The workshop will also include sessions on conducting fieldwork, manuscript preparation and publication, and other professional development topics. Following their participation in the full program, alumni will receive 3 years’ membership to APSA and will be eligible to apply for small research grants.

Application Process
To submit an application for participation in the workshop, follow the web link to the online Application Form. Completed applications, including all necessary supporting documents (in PDF or Word Format), must be submitted by March 15, 2019. Selected fellows will be contacted in early April 2019. Applications must be in English and include:

  1. The completed online Application Form.
  2. An updated Curriculum Vitae/resume.
  3. A detailed research statement (1,000 – 2,000 words) describing the work-in-progress you propose to develop and present across the MENA Workshops program. This should outline the main theme of the paper, its methodology, the data/fieldwork on which it is based, and how it relates to the workshop theme. The research statement should not be part of a co-authored project. Submissions should not be an excerpt from an already completed work or one that already has been accepted for publication. Submissions may be derived from an ongoing dissertation project if also suitable for a journal article.
  4. Two letters of reference on official letterhead and scanned as electronic files. If you are a graduate student, one letter should be from your supervisor. If you are a researcher or faculty member, the letters can be from a former dissertation supervisor, a colleague at your home institution, a university official, or an employer.

Should you have any questions or seek additional information contact menaworkshops@apsanet.org. Please do not contact the workshop leaders directly.