Thompson Faculty Seminar
with Dr. Nawal El Saadawi
2012-13 Jack W. Thompson, M.D. Distinguished Visiting Professor
The Egyptian Revolution, Creativity and Women
Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, MD, MPH, a medical doctor/psychiatrist and world renowned multi-genre creative writer, political activist, and an advocate for women’s rights.
Please join your colleagues in this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discuss this very intriguing and interesting topic with an international scholar and activist. Whether for research and/or personal interest, you will walk away with a wealth of knowledge and new insight. For your convenience online registration is available below.
~ Faculty Seminar Info ~
Dr. Nawal El Saadawi, the 2012-13 Thompson Distinguished Visiting Professor will lead and direct the discussions.
Seminar meetings will be held on Tuesdays in the CAS Conference Room, 523 French Hall. Dinner will be provided at each seminar beginning at 5:30 p.m., with each session being held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Register as soon as possible because there will be limited seating.
~ Book Readings/Reviews ~
As a result of her literary and scientific writings, Dr. Nawal El Saadawi has had to face numerous difficulties and even dangers in her life. In 1972, she lost her job in the Egyptian Ministry of Health because of her book, Women and Sex (1969) and banned by the political and religious authorities because in some chapters of the book she wrote against ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ (FGM), and linked sexual problems to political and economic oppression. The magazine, Health, which she founded and had edited for more than three years, was closed down in 1973. In September 1981, President Sadat put her in prison. She was released at the end of November, 1981, two months after his assassination. She wrote her book Memoirs from the Women’s Prison on a roll of toilet paper and an eyebrow pencil smuggled to her cell by an imprisoned young woman in the prostitutes' ward. From 1988 to 1993 her name featured on death lists issued by fanatical religious and political organizations.
On June 15, 1991, the government issued a decree which closed down the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association over which she presided and handed over its funds to an association called Women in Islam. Six months before this decree the government closed down the magazine, Noon, published by the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association. She was Editor-in-Chief of the magazine.
During the summer of 2001, three of her books were banned at the Cairo International Book Fair. She was accused of apostasy in 2002 by a fundamentalist lawyer who raised a court case against her, urging that she be forcibly divorced from her husband, Dr. Sherif Hetata. She won the case due to Egyptian, Arab and international solidarity and intervention. On January 28, 2007, Nawal El Saadawi and her daughter, Mona Helmy, a poet and writer, were accused of apostasy and interrogated by the General Prosecutor in Cairo because of their writings to honor a ‘mother’s name’ in the identity of a child in the Egyptian culture. They won the case in 2008. Their efforts led to a new law of the child in Egypt in 2008, giving children born outside marriage the right to carry the name of the mother. Also, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), was banned in Egypt by this law in 2008. Nawal El Saadawi had been writing and fighting against FGM in Egypt for more than fifty years.In November, 2006, her new play, God Resigns at the Summit Meeting, was banned in Egypt and she faced a new trial in the courts for a case raised against her by Al Azhar in February 2007, accusing her of apostasy and heresy because of the new Play. In April, she won the highest literary award of the African Literature Association (USA) – Fonlon Nichols Award – bestowed on a courageous writer world-wide who remains, against all odds, undeterred in the fight for the cause of justice and freedom of speech. Later the same year, she was appointed to the prestigious William and Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Endowed Professorship, at Spelman College, Atlanta. In Egypt, she won the case against her at the highest Egyptian civil court, on May 13, 2008.