Introductory Themes

  • Sahar Khamis
  • Amel Mili


The book’s introduction sets the stage for the rest of this volume by tackling a number of important theoretical underpinnings on which it is based, such as unpacking the notion of feminism(s) and revealing the complexity and diversity of this complex notion, as well as addressing the conceptual notion of “intersectionality” and how and why it should be revisited and re-envisioned within the context of Arab women’s movements. It provides an overview of how and why multiple forms of feminism(s) emerged and developed across parallel political, social, and legal struggles in the Arab world, throughout different historical phases, and how and why each of them had their own distinct characteristics. In recounting the history of women’s movements throughout the Arab region, three distinct phases are highlighted. The first is the phase of nationalism and fighting colonialism, and the identity debates that colonization spawned. The second is the phase of modern nation-building, and the sociopolitical debates and choices that arose in this post-colonial era. Finally, the third phase, echoes the “third wave of feminism,” which came about with the eruption of the Arab Spring movements in 2011, and signaled the marriage between women’s activism on the ground and the deployment of online means of communication to enact sociopolitical transformation. This introduction sheds light on how women’s movements were both mirrors and molders of these three distinct phases. It concludes by posing a number of important questions, which the subsequent chapters attempt to answer. It ends by providing a synopsis of the various chapters.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sahar Khamis
    • 1
  • Amel Mili
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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