Hiwar Series to host Against White Feminism author

October 03, 2021
Rafia Zakaria, an author, attorney, and human rights activist, will speak at Northwestern Qatar as part of its Hiwar Speaker Series.
Zakaria is the author of several books on women’s rights, including The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan and Veil, as well as numerous essays published in The Guardian, CNN, and The New York Times Book Review.
Northwestern Qatar Professor Banu Akdenizli says Zakaria’s experience as a Pakistani-American woman challenging Global North narratives inspires people around the world to challenge prevailing views of feminism. “Zakaria’s work on women’s rights forces us to take a look at the issues facing feminists beyond the lens of the white feminist movement and discuss practical solutions to empowering women around the world,” she said
Zakaria’s latest book, Against White Feminism, outlines how white-centric feminism has contributed to the oppression of women of color around the world. Drawing from her experience feeling excluded as a scholar from the mainstream feminist conversation, she makes a case for an inclusive approach to the fight for women’s rights to take on some major shortcomings in the movement.
Zakaria, who is a regular columnist for The Baffler and the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, combines stories of her personal experiences as a woman of color and as a lawyer, writer, and former board member for Amnesty International USA with deeply researched chapters about how whiteness and its privileges have negatively shaped the lives of millions of women over the past century.
“Rafia Zakaria’s work on reimagining feminism offers an intersectional approach to the fight for women's rights, one that centers on underrepresented women from the Global South and challenges the movement’s affinity with colonial and white supremacist ideals,” said Marwan M. Kraidy, dean and CEO of Northwestern Qatar. “Her experience as a civil rights attorney focusing on women’s rights provides a critical and larger look at the issues facing women's rights movements today.”
Zakaria joins a list of prominent intellectuals and international media experts discussing pressing issues – from journalism to geopolitics – as part of the school’s Hiwar Speaker Series Past speakers have been Ece Temelkuran, award-winning Turkish novelist and political commentator; and Winston Mano and viola c. milton, editors of the Routledge Handbook of African Media and Communication Studies.
The Hiwar Speaker event with Zakaria is open to the public and will feature Zakaria in conversation with Akdenizli, examining issues of inclusion in contemporary feminist movements. The webinar will take place on Thursday, October 7, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. (Doha time).