Creating Proper Men: Masculinities, Embodiment & Agency in the West Bank


 

Maria Malmstrom, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality (CSGS), New York University Visiting Scholar

In this talk, Dr. Malmstrom will discuss constructions of gender, embodiment and agency among male Hamas youths in the West Bank through the prism of violence. She will highlight the importance of analyzing the body in such processes - both as agential and as victimized. To be able to move away from the sensationalist Western media that often portray Middle Eastern Muslim men as 'violent', and as terrorists, we need to understand the motivations and the meanings of violence.


Description

This talk will discuss constructions of masculinities in a complex interplay of violence, political Islam, suffering and loss. The method of analysis is to use a discourse-centered approach and to use experience-near ethnography that begins with men's own practices and attends to how they understand themselves, how their bodies are involved in this process, and how they live out norms and ideologies in their everyday lives. Thereby we are able to understand how men's realities and identities are interpreted, negotiated and constructed and how the body actively is involved in these processes. This approach is relevant since it is possible to analyze the singularity of experience, not only as a form of social interaction, but as linked to social structures and discourses, which implies negotiations of tensions, conflicts, and uncertainties.

 

Speaker

Maria Malmstrom is a Swedish anthropologist and her areas of interest are the MENA region, gender, body, sexuality, politics, violence, and security. She received her PhD from the School of Global Studies, Social Anthropology, University of Gothenburg. Her dissertation examined how female gender identity is continually created and re-created in Egypt through a number of daily practices, of which female circumcision is central. The study explored how the subject is made through the interplay of global hegemonic structures of power and the most intimate sphere, which has been exposed in the international arena. She is today involved in the inter-disciplinary research project "Hamas between Sharia rule and Demo-Islam." The study aims to investigate in what way Hamas will adopt to the new realities on the ground (together with Michael Schulz et al.).

Additionally, Dr. Malmstrom is involved in ground research on sexual violence and armed conflict in a globalized world (together with Maria Stern and Maria Eriksson Baaz). Furthermore, she is a gender consultant (UNFPA and others), and member of several academic/policy networks, e.g. Think Tank for Arab Women.

 

Cosponsors

The Columbia Law School's Center for Gender and Sexuality Law

The Institute for Research on Women and Gender


6 April 2011, 12:00-1:10 PM
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 502
Columbia Law School (116th St. and Amsterdam Ave.)