Jadaliyya Editor Slams Sherifa Zuhur for Defending Mona ElTahawy & for Daring to Criticize their Article

30 Apr

ear Sherifa,

On behalf of Jadaliyya Editors, I would like to say the following.

First, we/authors do not wish to engage your comments below because of the lack of substance (i.e., serious engagement) there, beyond leveling unfounded accusations. Jadaliyya’s content, and particularly this piece by Sherene Seikaly and Maya Mikdashi, is in no need of defense as the blogosphere, lay readers, and various academics and academic circles noted its significance as a preliminary response to Foreign Policy’s stunt (and time will tell). And serious critique of it is welcome.

Second, I personally regret your references to Maya’s writing, which apparently you reduced to one piece and cast in a bad light. Maya’s work on sex and citizenship in particular, and in particular on jadaliyya, not only circulated widely and globally, but has been repeatedly assigned in classrooms around the United States and beyond by a large number of educators, including junior and established faculty. As a graduate student completing a stellar dissertation, Maya has produced comparatively remarkable material that continues to educate and inspire within and beyond academia (again, time will tell this better than I can. Just hang around).

None of us needs to like the arguments of others, but our claims should conform to a minimum of civility and accountability (e.g., your erroneous references to what maya wrote in the past). Maya has written more than 50 pieces on jadaliyya that were extremely well-received and celebrated as both courageous and sophisticated, and certainly not as “disingenuous” (in either title or substance). I invite you to take a look.

50+ Authored PIeces

Co-Authored Pieces

Finally, I would like to reiterate that we/authors do not wish to debate your other claims because they were bereft of any detail or evidence. In fact, we are happy to have you advance your own critique of the response. I personally, as well as my colleagues at Jadaliyya, think a serious, even if tough, discussion is indeed most needed when it comes to sensitive issues–but without (unintended?) hierarchy and unsubstantiated claims.



Bassam Haddad
Director, Middle East Studies Program
Assistant Professor, Department of Public and International Affairs
George Mason University

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