Uncanny Alliances and Common Foes: Iranian Gender and Sexuality Studies in Times of Massacre in Gaza

Sima Shakhsari
Dec 6, 2023, 12:00 pm1:00 pm
  • RSVP Required
  • Free, Open to the Public



Event Description



Reflections on the recent events in Palestine have been controversial in the Iranian social media. Claims of women’s freedom and justice, intensified by the Woman, Life, Freedom movement over the last year are complicated by the Israeli State’s genocide in Gaza. The dominance of liberal feminism, the Israeli pinkwashing, the Iranian state’s suppression of Woman Life freedom protests, and the opposition to the Iranian state—an ally to Hamas— have culminated in desensitization of some queer and feminist activists and scholars to the brutal genocide in Gaza, at times leading to uncanny alliances mobilized against a common foe: “Islamism.” In this talk, by bringing together necropolitics, ethicopolitics, and geopolitics as analytical frameworks, I will discuss the instrumentalization of women’s bodies in the representational economy of liberation of women and queers in Iran and Palestine and will discuss possibilities of solidarity beyond fixed notions of identity.


Sima Shakhsari is an associate professor and former Chair in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. They received a PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology from Stanford University, an MA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University, and have held postdoctoral positions at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wolf Humanities Center and the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Houston. Their areas of specialization broadly include transnational feminist theory, transnational sexuality studies, queer theory, transgender studies, critical refugee studies, diaspora studies, neoliberal governmentality, biopolitics, necropolitics, civil society, and digital media. Shakhsari's book, titled Politics of Rightful Killing: Civil Society, Gender, and Sexuality in Weblogistan (Duke University Press, 2020) received the Fatema Mernissi Book Award Honorable Mention from the Middle East Studies Association. Shakhsari's current research focuses on movement as a corporeal, affective, and political assemblage in relation to gender and sexuality in the Iranian diaspora.

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