Feminism book wins Arab American Book Award

Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies Rabab Abdulhadi's recent  Gender, Violence, and Belongingbook on Arab and Arab American feminism has won the 2012 Arab American Book Award.

Abdulhadi co-edited "Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, and Belonging," which won in the award's non-fiction category. The book is a collection of contributions from poets, creative writers, artists, academics and activists. These diverse perspectives and personal stories challenge stereotypes of Arab women as submissive and overturn the idea that Arab feminists' concerns are confined to such issues as "the veil" or female circumcision.

"This collection fills an important need, articulating the voices, beliefs and sentiments of Arab and Arab American women whose voices have been dimmed, especially in the post 9/11 climate of intensified racism and violence," Abdulhadi said.

The book addresses much broader issues than the term "feminism" usually brings to mind.

"Many of the contributors use the term feminism as shorthand for a broader commitment to gender justice, including an end of gender inequality, homophobia and prejudice toward transgender women," Abdulhadi said. In addition, the contributors argue that gender justice must be addressed alongside racial justice, economic justice and self-determination for marginalized groups.

Abdulhadi, who is also an associate professor of race and resistance studies and a senior scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative, has already used the book in her teaching at SF State. It is being used by college instructors across the U.S.

The Arab American Book Award recognizes books that preserve and advance the understanding, knowledge and resources of the Arab American community. The awards are presented by the Arab American National Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. The award ceremony will be held on Sept. 29 at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

--Elaine Bible