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What Kind of Liberation?

Women and the Occupation of Iraq

Nadje Al-Ali (Author), Nicola Pratt (Author), Cynthia Enloe (Foreword)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 240 pages
ISBN: 9780520265813
January 2009
$34.95, £27.00
Other Formats Available:
In the run-up to war in Iraq, the Bush administration assured the world that America's interest was in liberation—especially for women. The first book to examine how Iraqi women have fared since the invasion, What Kind of Liberation? reports from the heart of the war zone with dire news of scarce resources, growing unemployment, violence, and seclusion. Moreover, the book exposes the gap between rhetoric that placed women center stage and the present reality of their diminishing roles in the "new Iraq." Based on interviews with Iraqi women's rights activists, international policy makers, and NGO workers and illustrated with photographs taken by Iraqi women, What Kind of Liberation? speaks through an astonishing array of voices. Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt correct the widespread view that the country's violence, sectarianism, and systematic erosion of women's rights come from something inherent in Muslim, Middle Eastern, or Iraqi culture. They also demonstrate how in spite of competing political agendas, Iraqi women activists are resolutely pressing to be part of the political transition, reconstruction, and shaping of the new Iraq.
Foreword—Cynthia Enloe
List of Acronyms

1. Iraqi Women before the Invasion
2. The Use and Abuse of Iraqi Women
3. Engendering the New Iraqi State
4. The Iraqi Women's Movement
5. Toward a Feminist and Anti-Imperialist Politics of Peace

Nadje Al-Ali is Reader in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Nicola Pratt is Lecturer in Comparative Politics and International Relations at the University of East Anglia.
“The book thoroughly exposes the disparities between the talk of politicos and situation of Iraqi women—a timely addition to scholarship on Iraq.”—Publishers Weekly
“Impressive . . . Al-Ali and Pratt have given us an unparalleled opportunity to assess the ways in which women in Iraq have experienced the years since the 2003 invasion.”—Charles Tripp The Middle East In London
“Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt’s research could not have come at a better time. What Kind of Liberation? offers a revolutionary perspective on the war that has come to define a generation, using a gendered analysis that factors in women’s historical participation in Iraqi society, attempting to separate it from the one-dimensional warzone it is known as to many Americans today.”—Lizzy Shramko Feminist Review
“A very important tool for those of us living during the ‘war on terror,’ and it will surely be a crucial part of scholarly and activistic work on the U.S. occupation of Iraq in the future.”—Fellowship Magazine
“An important and timely addition to the literature on Iraq . . . . [Al-Ali and Pratt] have contributed significantly to the feminist struggle for peace.”—Journal Of Contemporary Asia
“A critical text that should be read by anyone working in or studying Iraq.”—Paula Holmes-Eber Marine Corps University Journal
“Insightful and committed book. . . . One of the most remarkable contributions . . . is its bringing to light of the real consequences for women of firstly the sanctions, and of the occupation and (what they arguably call) ‘the post-conflict’, later.”—Gender & Development
"There is something to learn, literally, on every page here."—Cynthia Enloe, from the foreword

"This is a fluent and highly informed account of the women of Iraq during a time of ever increasing political turmoil, economic disaster and foreign invasion. It gives a fascinating insight into the way Iraqi society really works and is far superior in quality to most of what has been written about Iraq in war and peace."—Patrick Cockburn, author of Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq

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