The Link Between Women’s Studies Programs and Grassroots Organizations in Lebanon, the Balkans, and the Palestinian Territories: A Comparative Study

Citation:

Toman, Cheryl. 2006. “The Link Between Women’s Studies Programs and Grassroots Organizations in Lebanon, the Balkans, and the Palestinian Territories: A Comparative Study.” Arab Studies Quarterly 28 (2): 55–67.

Author: Cheryl Toman

Abstract:

A primary goal of any women’s program is to create outreach opportunities beyond the university classroom in order to make a difference in one's community, whether at the local level or on the world stage. Thus, it is perhaps not a coincidence that strong Women's Studies programs have developed in Lebanon, the Balkans, and the Palestinian territories alongside successful women's activist groups. Together, they are able to work successfully despite the trials of functioning in conflict regions. This comparative study will analyze various women's organizations in these areas and their relationships with three Women's Studies programs in particular: The Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World in Beirut, the Center for Women's Studies in Zagreb, and the Women's Studies Program at Birzeit University in the West Bank. With a focus on work at the grassroots level as well as on research, these unique university programs in cooperation with women's associations not only aid women trying to survive and overcome the tremendous hardships of everyday life, but they are also playing an essential role, especially in the case of Lebanon and Palestine, in official policy making within their own governments. Lebanon, Croatia, and Palestine have been chosen for this comparison not only for their common ties to the Mediterranean, but also as home to multicultural peoples representing different stages of dealing with war and rebuilding. Although there are other conflict regions with women's activist groups that could be discussed here as well, Lebanon, Croatia, and Palestine stand not in particular since they are the only ones with well-established university programs in Women's Studies. The Institute for Women's Studies in the Arab World in Lebanon and the Women's Studies Program at Birzeit University are the only two of their kind in the Arab world just as the Center for Women's Studies in Croatia is a model in Southeastern Europe.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Education, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Croatia, Lebanon, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2006

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