The Arab Institute for Women

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Book Launching: “Gendering Civil War: Francophone Women’s Writing in Lebanon”

On June 7, 2023, The AiW hosted a panel discussion on Dr. Mireille Rebeiz’s book titled “Gendering Civil War: Francophone Women’s Writing in Lebanon”. The panel represented a great opportunity to explore the ways through which Lebanese women writers’ overlooked narratives to help understand the complex dimensions of gender, violence, and trauma during the civil war years in Lebanon (1975-1991). 

In an opening statement, Director of The AiW, Ms. Myriam Sfeir, extended a warm welcome to the attendees before introducing the book’s author, Dr. Mireille Rebeiz. Ms. Sfeir then proceeded by emphasizing The AiW’s commitment to supporting innovative and breakthrough research on women’s underrepresented roles in Lebanon’s sociopolitical history. As she stated, this panel discussion is a unique chance to discover and consider women writers’ often unsung narratives, particularly during times of violence and turbulence. An examination of these narratives, she emphasized, will help to develop a better understanding of the interrelated yet unrecognized dimensions of war and gender.

In her intervention, Associate Professor of French & Francophone and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Dr. Mireille Rebeiz, explained the book’s role in exploring and appreciating the literary contribution of Francophone Lebanese women writers, specifically Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Etel Adnan, Evelyne Accad, Andrée Chedid, Hyam Yared, and Georgia Makhlouf, during times of epic unrest. As she argued, the book, which greatly contributes to the field of gender, postcolonial, and Middle Eastern studies, helps to underscore women’s narratives, interpret the gender dimensions of the civil war, reinvent the wars’ collective versus sectional memories, and analyze the countereffects of violence on women. Through this approach, Dr. Rebeiz added, the book not only brings to light women’s lived experiences but more importantly successfully challenges the rigorous political, social, and cultural constructs that continue to silence women’s voices. Indeed, according to Dr. Rebeiz, her work represents a modest but significant endeavor to document and preserve the unrecognized memories of women who suffered the hardships of the civil war silently.  

The panel discussion concluded with a short Q&A session.