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EDITORS' INTRODUCTION Marcia C. Inhorn and Mary N. Layoun 6£> With this issue, we inaugurate JMEWS (Journal ofMiddle East Women's Studies), the official publication of the Association for Middle East Women's Studies (AMEWS). AMEWS is a multidisciplinar/, international organization , affiliated with the Middle East Studies Association and currently celebrating its twentieth anniversary year.1 We are honored and delighted to have been chosen as JMEWS co-editors by the AMEWS Board of Directors, and we are grateful to the AMEWS Publication Committee and a number of other significant individuals for helping to bring JMEWS to fruition.2 In addition , we want to thank our publisher, Indiana University Press (IUP), for its interest in including JMEWS in its impressive list of publications.5We are also delighted to be working with Alissa Surges, former Editorial Assistant of the International Journal ofMiddle East Studies, as our JMEWS Managing Editor. JMEWS seeks to advance the fields of Middle East women's studies, gender studies, and Middle East studies through contributions in the social sciences and humanities. The publication of such a journal is critical and timely for three important reasons. First, a journal devoted to gender studies in the Middle East is, in fact, long overdue, given the rich body of scholarly work published in this area. Since the late 1970s, Middle East studies has drawn a great many scholars of gender, including those who have joined AMEWS. Over the past two decades, there has been a veritable explosion of research, both historical and contemporary in nature, on Middle Eastern women's everyday lives, their multiple identities, and their agency and activism amidst multiple arenas of constraint. Yet, this rich literature on Middle Eastern women is scattered across the disciplinary landscape, having found homes in journals that are rarely read by regional specialists. Thus, our intent with JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EAST WOMEN'S STUDIES Vol. 1, No. 1 (Winter 2005). C 2005 2 œ JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EAST WOMEN'S STUDIES JMEWS is to provide a forum for the community of scholars who are contributing to knowledge production in Middle Eastern gender studies and who will look to JMEWS as a primary venue for their scholarly contributions, as well as an arena for contemplation and debate. Second, this journal reflects the institutional growth and disciplinary expansion ofwomen's studies over the same time period. Throughout North America and Europe, many universities have added women's studies components to their curricula, with doctoral degrees offered in some cases. Such programs are also beginning to internationalize their curricula, in the desire to expand and deepen knowledge about women's lives through explicitly international , interdisciplinary, and comparative perspectives. Feminist theory has also been greatly expanded and revised in multiple ways by scholars from around the world. For example, women's studies scholarship has been deeply informed by scholars from the global south, who have urged the re-evaluation of taken-for-granted Western feminist assumptions through the close examination of local specificities and the ways in which those local specificities inflect and expand Western feminist theories. The result has been the tremendous and exciting growth of women's studies as a more internationally inclusive and comparative field, deeply informed by transnational feminist perspectives. Furthermore, women's studies has been dramatically influenced by developments in other fields, including but not limited to cultural studies, poststructuralism, postcolonial studies in both the humanities and social sciences, science and technology studies, masculinity studies, and emergent forms of historiography and ethnography. Indeed, these are heady times in women's studies, as the intellectual scope and vision of the field continues to grow. Perhaps nowhere has the growth ofwomen's studies as a field been more evident than in the Middle Eastern region. Over the past decade, the region has seen a proliferation of women's studies programs and research centers, where Middle Eastern scholars are producing rich and critical studies informed by new developments in feminist theory and new analytical tools such as oral histories, multi-sited ethnography, and collaborative women-centered research. Those same scholars are, in turn, generating new developments in feminist theory and training future generations of Middle Eastern women's studies scholars. In this region, feminist and...


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