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Moroccan Scholars Offer Women’s Rights Talks

 Moroccan Scholars Offer Women’s Rights Talks


Two upcoming talks at SUNY Cortland will consider women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa with discussions led by a visiting couple from Morocco.

Soumia Boutkhil, a Moroccan scholar from Université Mohammed I Oujda, will present “The Challenges to Women’s Full Citizenship in Morocco,” at noon Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the Old Main Colloquium. Larbi Touaf, Boutkhil’s husband and the College’s Visiting Fulbright Scholar, will offer a talk titled “Democracy and Women’s Rights after the Arab Spring,” at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, in Moffett Center, Room 2125. His talk is part of the 2013-14 Rozanne M. Brooks Lecture Series at SUNY Cortland.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Boutkhil, an associate professor of English and the director of the Master’s Program in Gender, Society and Human Development at her institution, will discuss changes in family laws that have been passed within the last 10 years in Morocco along with the difficulties that came while putting those laws into effect. Those difficulties include the discretionary power of judges as well as the persistence of social practices such as polygamy and underage marriage.

Like her husband, Boutkhil is a Fulbright Scholar, having studied at Rutgers University in 2008. She is the co-editor of several edited books and many articles pertaining to her academic specialties, which include women and gender studies, feminist theory and postcolonial literature and theory.

Her talk is supported by the College’s Institute for Civic Engagement, the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies and the Clark Center for International Education.

Touaf, who also is an associate professor of English at Université Mohammed I Oujda, came to SUNY Cortland to study its Institute for Civic Engagement as a model for service-learning and the creation of strong campus and community partnerships.

His latest talk, however, will examine the aftermath of the Arab Spring demonstrations and protests, specifically as they relate to women in parts of the Middle East and North Africa. This year’s Brooks lectures are centered on the theme of “Cultures in Conflict, Pathways to Resolution.”

Touaf first visited the United States as a teenager and returned for graduate work at the University at Buffalo. He was first introduced to SUNY Cortland in 2011 while he served as a Visiting Fellow in Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

His research interests and areas of expertise include postcolonial studies; English and French languages; Maghreb, or Northwest African, and Middle Eastern studies; and youth civic engagement. Touaf has five edited volumes along with numerous articles and book chapters, published in both English and French, to his credit.

For more information on the talks, contact the College’s Institute for Civic Engagement at 607-753-2298.