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NMSU professor selected as Lillian Robinson Scholar, will present work in Canada this fall

With expertise in the field of women's studies and Arab-Muslim feminist theories, New Mexico State University professor of sociology and women's studies Manal Hamzeh has been named a 2011 Lillian Robinson Scholar. The program is a living memorial to Lillian Robinson, widely recognized as one of the leading feminist theorists of the 20th century.



New Mexico State University professor of sociology and women's studies Manal Hamzeh has been named a 2011 Lillian Robinson Scholar and will attend the Simone de Beauvoir Institute Universite Concordia in Montreal as a visiting scholar this October. (Courtesy photo)

As a Lillian Robinson Scholar, Hamzeh will attend the Simone de Beauvoir Institute Universite Concordia in Montreal in October to share her research as a visiting scholar. The Simone de Beauvoir Institute is dedicated to studying feminism and social justice. Hamzeh will present her work in a public forum for professors, students and community activists.

"This is a real honor for me and the women's studies program at NMSU," Hamzeh said. "I look forward to sharing my work with a larger community that will include people who are interested in the pedagogy I work with."

Hamzeh has been teaching at NMSU for three years and was born and raised in Amman, the capital of Jordan. Her background is Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian, Turkish and Kurdish. She has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from NMSU. As an arabyyah/muslimah feminist scholar, Hamzeh offers an alternative approach to research about the lives of Muslim girls.

"My research focuses on normative discourses shaping girls' experiences of their bodies," Hamzeh said. "My specific area of emphasis is on/with Muslim girls' negotiating the hijab discourse, or the many veils in their lives. At this point, my empirical research is guided by a commitment to access the lives of Muslim girls, work with them to challenge and interrupt the hijab discourse in their lives, and find ways to widen their opportunities of learning."

Hamzeh's work has been published in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, the Journal of Race, Ethnicity & Education, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, and Journal of Teaching in Physical Education.

"Presenting and working with people in a global landscape of women's studies is exciting," Hamzeh said. "Not only can I share my work but I will be learning from them also."

The Lillian Robinson Scholarship program is designed to attract distinguished visiting scholars working on a range of feminist research topics to the Simone de Beauvoir Institute. The Simone de Beauvoir Institute is a pioneer in the field of women's studies in Canada and brings together people from all over North America.