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Abstract: In the title quote, Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) expresses his desire for a space that preserves Palestinian identity within a wider culture. Rather than leaving ties to Palestine behind, Darwish, like writers included in this article – Susan Abulhawa, Hala Alyan, Randa Jarrar, and Naomi Shihab Nye, to name a few – puts his homeland within a framework of diasporic space. Similarly, Rana Barakat views exile as both an individual “shipwreck” and a communal journey, a stance that reflects intersectional feminist values. Negotiating “the isolation of the individual within our shared collective condition,” Barakat offers what Anna Ball terms a “transnational feminist approach”. She joins a larger body of post 1948 writers who construct what the “poet of witness” Caroline Forché calls “assembled communities”, groups of friends who, she says, are “varied in the universe” but come together via various kinds of communication in order to discuss common issues. This article seeks to explore a variety of transformative dialogues which transcend difference by standing together for justice, equality, and peace. How might feminist writers and activists negotiate a balance between connecting to their homeland but also recognize the potential that arises from the transnationalism of Avtar Brah’s concept of “diasporic space?” As a place marked by hybridity, where tradition is continually transformed, this theoretical concept addresses the confluence of migrating populations, capital, commodities and culture. This article also builds on Steven Salaita’s Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine (2016), a work that explores how such dialogues across borders offer a viable means of resistance. As Cynthia Franklin, editor of Biography’s special issue “Life in Occupied Palestine” (2014), notes, while sumoud (steadfastness) is a Palestinian tradition, it gains strength when Palestinians ally with social groups who are interconnected via various means of oppression.

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Author’s Bio: Benay Blend received her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. She has taught at the University of Georgia, Memphis State University, and University of New Mexico. Currently she is an adjunct professor of Native American, American, and New Mexico history at Central NM Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has published widely in such fields as southwest women writers, Native American Studies, and nature writing. Her published articles include “Linda Hogan’s ‘Geography of the Spirit’: Division and Transcendence in Selected Texts,” From the Center of Tradition: Critical Perspectives on Linda Hogan, Barbara Cook, Ed. (2003); “‘Because I am in All Cultures at the Same Time:’ Intersections of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Concept of Mextizaje in the Writings of Latin American Jewish Women,” Postcolonial Text 2 (2006); “Challenging the Official Story:  Alicia Kozameh, Alicia Partnoy, and Mother Activism During Argentina’s Dirty Wars (1976-1983),  Mothers Under Fire, Arlene Sgoutas and Tatjana Takseva, Eds (2015); “Intimate Kinships:  Who Speaks for Nature and Who Listens When Nature Speaks for Herself?” Ecocriticism and the Global South , Scott Slovic, Vidya Sarveswaran, Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Eds.(2015);“’I Learnt All the Words and Broke Them Up / To Make a Single Word: Homeland’: An Eco-Postcolonial Perspective of Resistance in Palestinian Women’s Literature,” Ecofeminist Dialogues (Forthcoming), Douglas Vacoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. ; and “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers,” Ecopoetics: Global Poetries and Ecologies, Isabel Campos, Editor (Forthcoming).  Her current research interest focuses on identity in the works of radical poets Margaret Randall and Carolyn Forché.

Abstract: In the last decade European governments have formally committed to preventing female genital mutilation (FGM). These practices have been tackled with specific laws and projects, but scaremongering has also been rife. In Italy, prevention has partly relied on sensationalist and top-down approaches that don’t help ethnic communities understand the problem. A survey involving migrant women revealed misunderstandings, conflicts and ambivalent attitudes towards the norms and values these practices are based on and the laws introduced to put an end to them. Women thus face an impossible choice (between their family or the host society), while both entities exploit similar bio-political processes to activate either social inclusion or exclusion policies. For the community to which they belong, a mutilated body guarantees identitarian acknowledgement, but the host country refuses it and holds their community responsible. If the abuse is reported or the practice rejected, one may be guaranteed international protection but will probably be ousted by one’s family and community. Culturally targeted communication, based on tailor made and peer-mentoring exchanges can create bonds of trust between victims, institutions and services, helping women who share FGM values, beliefs and meanings to overcome these conflicting values they have to come to terms with.

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Author’s Bio: Pietro Vulpiani, PhD, is currently Senior Adviser in the Resettlement Unit of the Dept. of Civil Liberties and Immigration of the Ministry of Interior, Italy. He is a former Senior adviser of the National Office against Racial Discrimination (Unar), Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Italy (2004-2015) and ex Senior Adviser on Migration for the Ministry of Labour (2002-2003) and several Italian NGOs (1991-2001). From 2006 to 2013 was a national member of the Italian Commission against Female Genital Mutilations. He received his doctorate in Ethno-anthropological Sciences in 1996 from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” with fieldwork in Bolivia (1989-1995). His last books are: (2013) I dubbi dello stregone. Medicina, magia e immigrazione in una capitale latinoamericana, Armando (The doubts of the healer. Medicine, magic and migration in a Latinamerican metropolis);  (2014) I volti dell’intolleranza. Xenofobia, discriminazioni, diritti e pratiche di convivenza (The faces of intolerance. Xenophoby, discrimination, rights and practices of common life).

Abstract:Boundaries mark limits, and as such the transgression of boundaries is inherently subversive. My research on the Bhawaiya songs of Bengal examines this transgression. Most love songs in Bhawaiya are about ‘illicit’ love, deviating from social norms and often occur in reaction to oppressive marital circumstances. They are a gateway to exploring female narratives of subjecthood and desire, in which women are the agents of their own sexuality. My focus is on deviance from marriage in the Bhawaiya folk songs as a form of subversion. Understanding Bhawaiya and its subversive existence requires an understanding of political, religious, linguistic and cultural boundaries of the Bhawaiya areas. Cooch Behar, the birthplace of the Bhawaiya genre, has historically been situated on blurred boundaries: between the cultural borders of Bengali and Rajbangshi, the religious borders of Islam and Hinduism, the governmental borders of the British Raj and Hindu kingdom and the borders of the Colonial and Bengali nationalist narratives. Even now, the Bhawaiya areas are divided by the international borders of Bangladesh and India. These blurred boundaries create a space for marginal peoples to develop and create their own cultural products, using the language of affection to resist and subvert patriarchal social rules. In my article, I will explore the subversive existence of female desire within Bhawaiya, and examine its feminist possibilities.

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Author’s Bio:Nasrin Khandoker is working as an associate professor in Anthropology at Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh from where she is currently on study leave, for conducting her PhD in Anthropology at Maynooth University, Ireland. She is receiving a Wenner-Gren Wadsworth fellowship and John and Pat Hume scholarship for her PhD studies. She was awarded a Master’s degree from the department of Gender Studies, Central European University, on behalf of the New York State Education Department in 2014 besides her Master’s degree from the department of Anthropology, Jahangirnagar University. Her publication of articles includes recent debates of post-modernism and feminism, sexuality, education and social studies of science. She is also a social activist in several feminist and anti-sexual violence groups in Bangladesh.

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Author’s Bio: Michael Reinhard is a PhD candidate in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He earned his Master’s in Film and Bachelor’s in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago, where his graduate thesis focused on beauty culture and visibility politics in teen girl comedies of the 1990s. His doctoral dissertation researches the cultural politics and identities of online fan communities in the contemporary U.S. music industry.

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