The public visibility and political activity of women remain contentious social issues in the Middle East. Where women are encouraged by the state to be politically active, their ensuing visibility is perceived as threatening to the local male-dominated social order, which in turn hampers their efficacy as political agents. In this article I explore political commemoration in Syria as a socially sanctioned venue for apolitical political activity that allows women nonthreatening public visibility. I focus on the work of Dr. Nadia Khost in commemorative practices in Damascus to illustrate how gender can be utilized effectively to negotiate local power hierarchies and social norms. I conclude with a discussion of the ways in which the public visibility and political activity of women are sanctioned when perceived as reinforcing rather than challenging the local sociopolitical order.
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Faedah M. Totah; The Memory Keeper: Gender, Nation, and Remembering in Syria. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 March 2013; 9 (1): 1–29. doi: https://doi.org/10.2979/jmiddeastwomstud.9.1.1
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