Destabilizing gendered and sexual binaries and tracing the formation of subjects, borders, bodies, and margins have been central concerns of feminist scholarship. Volume 13 takes space as a central analytic lens through which to understand the gender and sexuality of borders, bodies, and margins. Space here is mostly material but also metaphorical and discursive.
In Gohar Dashti’s untitled photograph from her 2008 series Today’s Life and War, central to the cover design of JMEWS 13:1, we experience everyday intimacies of war and militarization in the border between Iran and Iraq. The cover of JMEWS 13:2 features the art of Pınar Yoldaş, who turns the body inside out in her installation Salt Water Heart, urging us to question bodily borders and the human/nonhuman distinction. Rania Matar’s photograph from the series A Girl and Her Room, forthcoming on the cover of JMEWS 13:3, invites us to meditate on subject/object boundary by taking us into the intimate emotional and material spaces of girls’ rooms.
Issue 13:1 includes six research articles, three of which address the theme of space. Attiya Ahmad’s analysis of “Muslim marriage” among noncitizen residents of Kuwait points to the complexities and contradictions of forming relationships in transnational space. Yağmur Nuhrat takes us to the gendered spaces of soccer in Turkey and analyzes the masculine construction of fairness and fandom and women’s resistance to it. Continuing the theme of the gender and sexuality of militarization and violence from issue 12:3, Senem Kaptan examines the effects of compulsory military service in Turkey on how the mothers whose sons serve in the Turkish/Kurdish conflict zone imagine the “East.”
miriam cooke introduces a themed section of three articles on Egyptian women writers. While each author zooms in on a different literary work—Zimu Niu on Nawal El Saadawi’s Circling Song, Valerie Anishchenkova on Miral al-Tahawy’s Blue Aubergine, and Caroline Seymour-Jorn on al-Tahawy’s Tent—all explore how these novels question imposed gender norms and boundaries and illustrate their contingency.
The review section edited by Amy Kallander includes two essays and three book reviews. Mejdulene B. Shomali’s essay on Anxiety of Erasure by Hanadi Al-Samman and An Imperialist Love Story by Amira Jarmakani considers how these transnational cultural texts deploy the analytics of gender to understand subject formation through diasporic mobilities and the space of the desert. In “What Words Want” Adam Talib reflects on how examinations of Arab erotica at the conference “Words of Desire: The Language of Arabic Eroticism and Its Translations,” which took place in Paris in May 2016, shook “Western morality to its core.”
Third Space includes essays on the vagina art of the Orthodox Jewish artist Naʿama Snitkoff-Lotan (by David Sperber) and the work of HarassMap and WenDo against sexual harassment in Egypt (by Angie Abdelmonem and Susana Galán), and a photo-essay that documents the highly constrained environment of a rehabilitation home in Sharjah designed to correct the behavior of “deviant” girls (by Noor Al-Qasimi).
The issue concludes with a special forum on the July 15, 2016, coup attempt and its aftermath in Turkey. The forum opens with my essay that calls for making gender dynamics visible in and after the coup attempt. The essays, written soon after (late July to early August) by Yeşim Arat, Salih Can Açıksöz, Zeynep Kurtuluş Korkman, Begüm Başdaş, and Feyza Akınerdem, use lenses attentive to gender and sexuality to reflect on this consequential event. They examine the gender politics of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Gülen organization allegedly behind the coup attempt; the masculinism of the military, the centrality of gender and sexual violence to political power, and the shifting regimes of representation of women’s bodies in public space. These essays take us to streets and squares in urban Turkey and ask us to consider the prospects for feminism, pluralism, nonviolence, and peace given the consolidation of masculinist power, the rhetoric of national unity, and militarism.
We are sad to say good-bye to our wonderful managing editor for volumes 11 and 12, Tamar Shirinian, who completed her PhD in cultural anthropology at Duke University and accepted a postdoctoral position. She contributed greatly to the journal’s success over the two years she was part of the editorial office team. We are happy at the same time to welcome as the managing editor for volumes 13 and 14 Rachel Greenspan, an advanced PhD student in the Literature Program at Duke.
Our call for papers for volume 14 is on “Decolonizing Sex and Sexuality.” Please visit our website, jmews.org, for this call and regular updates about the journal.