The Critical Theory Emphasis, the Humanities Collective, and Program in Culture and Theory present
"Gender and 'Peace-Work': An Unofficial History of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations"
with Dr. Sarai Aharoni, Frankel Institute for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan
February 23, 2011
Humanities Gateway, Room 1002
Dr. Sarai Aharoni is a Schusterman Visiting Lecturer at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Previously, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a research fellow at the Jerusalem Van-Leer Institute. She received her Ph.D. in gender studies from Bar-Ilan University, writing her dissertation on gender perspectives and the participation of Israeli women in formal Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. She has published articles on gender, peace and conflict in Israel and co-edited the book Where Are All the Women? U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325: Gender Perspectives of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2004). She is currently working on Gender and ‘Peace-Work’: An Unofficial History of Israeli-Palestinian Formal Peace Negotiations. Aharoni is one of the founding members of the IWC (International Women's Commission) and has been active in promoting women's rights in Israel as a member of Isha l'Isha- Haifa Feminist Center.
Aharoni's talk will examine the involvement of women in backstage roles of formal negotiations during the Oslo Process. Based on a qualitative analysis of the organizational structure and gender division of labor in Israeli negotiating bodies, her research finds that women were placed as mid-level negotiators, professional and legal advisors, and also served as spokeswomen and secretaries. She concludes that this pattern of participation reveals (1) the 'security logic', developed by Israeli negotiators lead to, and reinforced, a structured gendered division of labor, providing a rational justification for gender inequality; (2) that the ability to control administrative capacities and women workers generated symbolic masculine power and assisted in maintaining asymmetries between Israeli and Palestinian delegations; (3) that mid-level Israeli negotiator's narratives reveal the extent to which conceptual confusion and self-contradictory approaches towards the Oslo Accords reinforced women's overall invisibility.
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