Women, Gender, and Creative Activism in the Egyptian Revolutions (1919-2013)

Margot Badran, Senior Fellow, The Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University and Senior Scholar, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Co-presented with the Religion, State and Society Network and the School of Languages and Cultures, the University of Sydney


15 October, 2013

Historian and commentator on women, gender and feminism in Egypt, Margot Badran joins Sydney Ideas for a conversation with the University of Sydney’s Lucia Sorbera. Badran will discuss revolution as a complex process, calling the public quest for gender equality and social justice from early last century the ‘Long Revolution” encompassing the 1919 Revolution, the 1952 Revolution, and the ongoing 2011 Revolution.

Badran approaches revolution not simply as marked by significant–and named–political revolutions but as the perennial struggle for transformation expressing social and cultural overhaul. The talk centers on the continuing 2011 Revolution (al-thawra al-musatmirra) as a new generation of women and men engage in forms of creative activism displaying at once tenacious militant activisms and stunning aesthetic politics. Facile constructions of ‘the secular’ and ‘the religious’ dissolve in this latest phase of the long revolution releasing society, culture, and people from the counter-weight of destructive dichotomies and oppressive allegiances.

Margot Badran


Margot Badran is a historian and gender studies specialist focusing on the Middle East and Islamic world. She is a senior fellow at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, senior scholar at the Institute for the Study of Women and Art, Rutgers University, and is currently affiliated with the History Department at the American University in Cairo. Her research interests include secular and Islamic feminisms, women, auto/biography, gender and revolution including diverse activisms and verbal and visual narratives. She holds a D Phil from Oxford University, an M.A. from Harvard University, and a diploma from Al Azhar University. She has taught and lectured at many universities in the U. S. and abroad. She has held the Reza Khatib and Georgianna Clifford Khatib Visiting Chair in Comparative Religion, St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn, was the Edith Kreeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of Religion, Northwestern University. Among her books are: Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt (1995); Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Discourses (2009; and Women and Gender in Africa: Rights, Sexuality, and Law (2011). She is presently in Egypt working on a book on revolutionaries in Egypt

Lucia Sorbera

Lucia Sorbera is a lecturer in Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Sydney. Her areas of research include the Arab novel and gender and culture in the Arab world. She has recently co-edited with Leila El- Houssi an issue of Genesis, the Journal of the Italian Society of Women Historians, on Feminisms in the Mediterranean. Among her recent publications are 'Early Reflections of an Historian on Feminism in Egypt in Time of Revolution', in Genesis, Femminismi nel Mediterraneo (2013). Her current research focuses on women, politics, and social movements in Egypt.