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The Universe of Rights: Universality and Locality in Women’s Rights


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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs 

Middle Eastern Studies Program presents

The Universe of Rights:  Universality and Locality in Women’s Rights

Human rights discourses, the universal conventions on human rights, the discourses on women’s rights as human rights all set in motion critical benchmarks globally for women’s movements and nation states.  The question is what undergirds these benchmarks?  What are the assumptions uncritically built into these rights, these conventions, these discourses?  Do they carry with them political and cultural hegemonies that foreclose diverse possibilities? The lecture offers an examination of the important contributions of watershed moments in women and human rights and the unexamined undercurrents washed along with them. 

Q&A will follow and be moderated by Ivy Raines, Syracuse University 

Suad Joseph

Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

University of California, Davis 

Suad Joseph is Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Davis. She is the founder of the Middle East Research Group in Anthropology (which evolved into the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association), founder and founding president of the Association for Middle East Women's Studies (AMEWS) and founder and director of the Arab Families Working Group. She founded and directs the University of California Davis Arab Region Consortium, including the American University of Beirut, the American University in Cairo, the Lebanese American University, Birzeit University, American University of Sharjah, and UC Davis. She was president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America in 2010-2011. She is co-founder and founding president of the Arab American Studies Association and co-founder of the Association for Middle East Anthropology and the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. She is General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. She has edited or co-edited 10 books, and published over 100 articles in journals and books, most recently Arab Family Studies: Critical Reviews (2018) and Arab American Women: Representation and Refusal (2021). She is the founder and founding director of the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis and was awarded the UC Davis Prize – the largest undergraduate teaching and research prize in the United States. She the Middle East Studies Association Jere L. Bacharach Life Time Service Award in 2019 and the UC Davis Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship for 2020-2021.

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For more information, please contact Havva Karakas Keles, or to request accommodation arrangements please contact Morgan Bicknell,

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