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Lessons from the Classroom: Renegotiating Critical and Feminist Pedagogy in the Middle East
Unformatted Document Text:  C. RESEARCH: Research Centers: Promoting Feminist Scholarship through partnerships with IGOs & NGOs In the past ten years, there has been a visible increase in the number of university centers and departments that promote feminism and gender studies in the Middle East. Some of their achievements and limitations will be analyzed. I will also outline some of the present conditions and challenges they face. One of the most widely circulated critiques of these centers is that they are bound by the gags and straightjackets imposed by the alienating dynamics, cultures and discourse prevailing in the educative institutions. Despite their limitations, these centers have contributed to the advancement of gender equity in society and have provided new learning environments for women. A number of factors have influenced the development of centers for women’s and gender studies: • The social impact of the feminist movement • The relationship of some sectors of the feminist movement with the grassroots social movements • The government and international agencies’ policies toward women’s and men’s equity • The identity crisis of social sciences and humanities that opened possibilities for new issues of research and interdisciplinarity • The long-term commitment of public higher education to research, teaching and service to social development • Changes in priorities in state policies toward women’s education. 1. Institutional legitimacy, collaboration and conflict Legitimacy is contingent upon the centers day-to-day relations with international agencies, NGOs and government programs. Even though they are immersed in the organizational and political culture of higher education, they do not benefit from the financial security accorded to more lucrative research centers on economics and business. While they enjoy having a basic budget and or place inside the academic and administrative structures, at the same time this makes them part of a less democratic, 15

Authors: DeVriese, Leila.
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C. RESEARCH:
Research Centers: Promoting Feminist Scholarship through partnerships with IGOs &
NGOs
In the past ten years, there has been a visible increase in the number of university centers
and departments that promote feminism and gender studies in the Middle East. Some of
their achievements and limitations will be analyzed. I will also outline some of the
present conditions and challenges they face.
One of the most widely circulated critiques of these centers is that they are bound by the
gags and straightjackets imposed by the alienating dynamics, cultures and discourse
prevailing in the educative institutions. Despite their limitations, these centers have
contributed to the advancement of gender equity in society and have provided new
learning environments for women.
A number of factors have influenced the development of centers for women’s and gender
studies:
The social impact of the feminist movement
The relationship of some sectors of the feminist movement with the grassroots
social movements
The government and international agencies’ policies toward women’s and men’s
equity
The identity crisis of social sciences and humanities that opened possibilities for
new issues of research and interdisciplinarity
The long-term commitment of public higher education to research, teaching and
service to social development
Changes in priorities in state policies toward women’s education.
1. Institutional legitimacy, collaboration and conflict
Legitimacy is contingent upon the centers day-to-day relations with international
agencies, NGOs and government programs. Even though they are immersed in the
organizational and political culture of higher education, they do not benefit from the
financial security accorded to more lucrative research centers on economics and business.
While they enjoy having a basic budget and or place inside the academic and
administrative structures, at the same time this makes them part of a less democratic,
15


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