“Women in Struggle”, “Women in the Private or Public Sphere” or “Genre Factory” are the mainstays of the extremely diverse program of the history of the Institute of the Arab World (IMA), dedicated to “Women and Gender.” “Nowadays they are called popular universities, explains Frédérique Mehdi, IMA’s Director of Cultural Events. The aim is to address the diversity of topics, the diversity of the media and make them available to the widest possible audience.
Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian feminists
Lydia Haddag, author and doctoral student of art history, will be part of a round table dedicated to Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian feminists. He is particularly interested in Algeria and describes numerous initiatives in Algeria, but not only. You said “optimistic” recognizing less structuring and less problems “radicals” than in two neighboring countries. She quotes the place, a new Algerian feminist magazine published by Motifs. Red cover, sober and eye-catching. Inside, we count the murders of women to better condemn them, we think about the place of feminism in the Hirak movement, we learn about cervical cancer. All texts, interviews and other chronicles are bilingual in Arabic / French. “We want to see the extent to which there is a renewal in terms of generations, whether there is real transmission or distancing from the elders,” she said.
Other highlights of contemporary history include carte blanche at the European Institute of Food and Cultural History, which addresses this iconoclastic question: is cuisine in the Arab world truly “Women’s affairsThey are”? Anthropologist Chantal Crenn, academician Sihem Debbabi Missaoui and Fatema Hal at the head of a Parisian restaurant will discuss this. Myriam Chopin, a history teacher and researcher, and Olivier Faron, historian and rector of the Academy in Strasbourg, meet at a bilateral contraceptive conference between France and Algeria. From a more distant historical point, the place of women in the public and private spheres in ancient Mesopotamia or their role in religion in the Middle East between the end of antiquity and the beginning of Islam, as well as the beginnings of the women’s press, will be discussed. between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
It brings light to little-known stories
Why address such topics today? Have they influenced the issues currently being debated by European feminists, women and feminists in North Africa? If the subject was set more than a year and a half ago by the Scientific Council chaired by Henry Laurens and therefore seems to be separate from the burning reports, “There is necessarily porosity between the world as it is and what the Scientific Council wants to evoke”, Frédérique Mehdi replies. It was necessary for her to address this point, as the position of women in the Arab world is the subject of several important events and major debates.
The goals of these days are multiple. In some cases, it sheds light on stories that are not well known in France, with different prisms approaching them. “millennial history”. At other times, it is more a question of questioning Orientalist visions, such as the conference of historian and anthropologist Jocelyne Dakhlia entitled “Harem Behind the Walls”. This is a reassessment of the image of these haremes with women “Who spend time anointing themselves from morning till night.” “We realize that they are much more mobile than we think, and therefore their roles and positions are completely different from what we imagine.” points out the director of cultural events.
The event, co-chaired by historian Michelle Perrot and writer and former lawyer Wassyl Tamzali, both feminist activists, is free and open access.