Gender Equality, Diversity and Critique: Transnational Perspectives, PRO GED - Kick-Off Meeting

PRO GED (Promoting Gender Equality and Diversity through Shared Knowledge Production) is an international Consortium for Education and Research (COFER) funded by swissuniversities and devoted to fostering research-based exchange in the field of gender and diversity. It is a joint cooperation between the University of Zurich, FHNW Olten and the University of Geneva and four partners in the Middle East / North Africa.
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The Kick-Off Meeting on February 22, 14:30-18:45, University of Zürich, Room KO2-F-152 (main building), includes an official presentation of PRO GED and a roundtable discussion on the topic "Gender Equality, Diversity and Critique: Transnational Perspectives". It is followed by a keynote lecture given by Marnia Lazreg (City University New York) with the title "Foucault and the Challenge of Cultural Difference: An Interpretation".


14:30: Welcoming Notes
Klaus Jonas, Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UZH
Andrea Riemenschnitter, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, UZH

14:45 – 15:15 Presentation of PRO GED
Bettina Dennerlein & Sarah Farag (University of Zurich)

15:15 – 17:00 Roundtable Discussion: Gender Equality, Diversity and Critique: Transnational Perspectives
The roundtable invites the PRO GED partners to discuss current challenges posed by the global circulation of terminologies of gender and diversity and the different ways in which they are understood and put into practice. How can a transnational perspective contribute to selfcritically evaluating the adjustments and transformations these concepts undergo? How can they remain productive as tools of analysis and critique in specific contexts?


Nathalie Amstutz, University of Applied Sciences and Art Northwestern CH
Connie Christiansen, Lebanese American University, Beirut
Hoda El Sadda, Cairo University
Moha Ennaji, University of Fez
Marylène Lieber, University of Geneva
Fatima Sadiqi, University of Fez
Chair: Yasmine Berriane, Centre Maurice Halbwachs/CNRS, Paris

Keynote Lecture: Foucault and the Challenge of Cultural Difference: An Interpretation

Marnia Lazreg (City University New York), 17:15 - 18:45, University of Zürich, Room KO2-F-152

Although he was not an “orientalist,” Foucault thought of the Orient as a “limit experience” to Western rationality. What did he mean by this? In living and traveling in countries of the “Orient,” Tunisia, Iran and Japan, Foucault faced a philosophical, methodological, and personal challenge. How did he meet this challenge? Did he re-orient his work to take into account cultural difference? Drawing on archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars, this talk traces the genealogy of Foucault’s view of the Orient, and cultural difference generally, as he faced the challenge of the Iranian Revolution and the 1968 Tunisian students’ revolt. It further examines the short-lived effort he made to amend his conception of revolution and religion. It concludes with a reflection on the reasons for which Foucault’s thought, although culturally circumscribed as well as largely gender-blind, made inroads in feminist theory, which has typically sought to be culturally inclusive.

Marnia Lazreg is a professor of sociology at Hunter College and at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Bunting Institute (Harvard University); the Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women (Brown University); the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy); and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Prof. Lazreg has written extensively on human rights, social class inequality, cultural movements, and gender in the Middle East and North Africa. Her books include Foucault’s Orient: The Conundrum of Cultural Difference From Tunisia to Japan (Berghahn 2017); Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Princeton, 2008), Questioning the Veil: Open Letters to Muslim Women (Princeton, 2010) and The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question (Routledge, 1996).


22. Februar 2019, 14.30 – 18.45


Universität Zürich, Rämistrasse 71, 8006 Zürich


Asien-Orient-Institut UZH(Schweiz)