Thoughts on State-Building, Decolonization, Gender, and Tunisia: Insights from the Global 1960s
Amy Kallander reflects on how the work of Tunisian scholars on trade unions, feminism, and patriarchy informed her approach to thinking critically about state-building in the first decades after independence. Placing ideas about gender and women’s rights in relation to broader debates about cultural decolonization, transnational political movements, pan-Arab and Maghribi intellectual projects and the power dynamics of the Cold War era offers insights on thinking intersectionally and local articulations of global phenomena. Drawing from her new book Tunisia’s Modern Woman: Nation-Building and State Feminism in the Global 1960s she gestures towards the importance of women in the realms of diplomacy, economic development, and intellectual life, as well as in social and cultural domains. As a way of placing women into standard histories of the era, gender analysis points towards the necessity of considering class, regional, and other disparities.
Amy Kallander is Associate Professor of History and Affiliated faculty with Women’s and Gender Studies at Syracuse University, NY, USA. A scholar of early modern and modern Middle East history, she is the author of Tunisia’s Modern Woman: Nation-Building and State Feminism in the Global 1960s (Cambridge 2021) and Women, Gender, and the Palace Household in Ottoman Tunisia (Texas 2013). These works place gender in relation to social history and political power, population politics, fashion, consumerism, and love. She has authored articles and book chapters exploring the role of social media in Tunisian social movements, postcolonial and transnational relations with France, has appeared in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Middle East Report Online, Arab Media & Society, French Politics, Culture and Society and Nouri Gana ed. The Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects (Edinburgh 2013).
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