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CURRENTS: Noor Zaidi (History) and Haniyeh Pasandi (MLLI)

Humanities Work Now


Performing Arts & Humanities Building : 216 and Online

Date & Time

April 3, 2023, 12:00 pm1:00 pm


The Dresher Center’s CURRENTS: Humanities Work Now lunchtime series showcases exciting new faculty work in the humanities in a dynamic and inter-disciplinary setting.

Lunch will be served at 11:30am. Masks are recommended.

Finding Zaynab in Al-Rashad
Noor Zaidi, Assistant Professor, History, UMBC; Dresher Center Residential Faculty Research Fellow (Spring 2023)

From 1980 onwards, the Ba’ath regime in Iraq under Saddam Hussain incarcerated tens of thousands of Shi’a Muslims in prisons across the country, viewing this majority population as a threat to the principles of the regime. Thousands of women were sent by the Ba’ath to special women’s prisons, including the notorious Al Rashad prison, though the stories of these women have been forgotten in discussions of memory, history, national identity, and violence, both in Iraq and outside. This talk explores how the women of Al Rashad built ties of family and identity, and created their own nationalist visions for the state, making space for themselves in national and sectarian narratives that sought to erase their existence and resistance.


Reclaiming the Body in “Hshouma” by Zainab Fasiki
Haniyeh Pasandi, Assistant Professor, Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication, UMBC; Dresher Center Residential Faculty Research Fellow (Spring 2023)

Haniyeh Pasandi will discuss Hshouma, a graphic novel by the Moroccan activist Zainab Fasiki, which denounces the control of sexuality and bodies in the Arab world. Fasiki, an illustrator and designer, created a series of works and artistic projects that break taboo subjects in Moroccan society and engage in the fight against different forms of discrimination, and the harassment and sexualization of women’s bodies. Challenging patriarchal hypocrisy, Fasiki’s work asks that every woman regain autonomy over her own body.