In this lecture, after a brief review of the historical background of the women’s rights movement, Dr. Tohidi will analyze the processes and factors that have resulted in the present campaign against the compulsory hijab.
Nayereh Tohidi is Professor and former chair of the Gender & Women Studies Department and currently, the founding director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at California State University, Northridge. She is also a Research Associate of the Iranian Studies and the Center for Near Eastern Studies of UCLA where she has been coordinating the Bilingual Lecture Series on Iran since 2003. Tohidi earned her BS (with Honors) from the University of Tehran in Psychology and Sociology and her MA and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her teaching and research expertise include gender and development, women’s movements, feminism and Islam, and ethnic issues in the MENA, with a focus on Iran and Central Asia. She is recipient of several grants, fellowships and research awards, including a year of Fulbright lectureship and research at the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan; post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University; Stanford University; the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; the Keddie-Balzan Fellowship at UCLA; and NEH grant to develop the MEIS Program at CSUN. She has held visiting professor position at Universities of Paris-7; UCLA, USC, Harvard, Minnesota, and Iowa. Her extensive publications, include over 80 articles, such as book chapters and peer-reviewed articles, plus editorship or authorship of three books: Globalization, Gender and Religion: The Politics of Women’s Rights in Catholic and Muslim Contexts; Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity; and Feminism, Democracy and Islamism in Iran. Some of Tohidi’s publications have been translated into several languages and used in universities of different countries. She has integrated her transnational human/women’s rights activism with excellence in academic work and scholarship, including frequent media appearances and public lectures at international conferences and community events as invited key note speaker or panelist. Tohidi has also served as a consultant to the United Nations (UNICEF and UNDP) on projects concerning gender and development, and women and civil society building in the Middle East and post-Soviet Eurasia. She represented women NGOs at both the third and fourth World Conferences on Women in Nairobi and Beijing sponsored by the United Nations.