Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution: Will Democracy Betray Women?

Jan Feldman, Professor of Political Science

Jan Feldman, Professor of Political Science

Tunisia, the original site of the Arab Spring uprisings, was regarded by many as having the best chance of bringing its democratic aspirations to fruition. But as the Jasmine Revolution enters its second year, there are signs that have produced dismay in the camp that views Islam as inimical to democracy. Particularly concerned are those who fear that Tunisian women’s rights may be reversed by the legal and cultural entrenchment of Islamist law in the next round of democratic elections. The striking irony is that Tunisia and several other Muslim countries, women have had dictators, emirs, and monarchs to thank for their legal, social, and economic rights. Will women be betrayed by democracy?

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Jan Feldman  has been a member of the Political Science Department at the University of Vermont since 1982. Her research projects have taken her to Russia, Kuwait, Israel, Tunisia, and Morocco.  She has held fellowships at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government: Women and Public Policy program and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute for the Study of Gender, Religion, Law, and Culture. Profesor Feldman’s publications include numerous articles as wel as two books, Lubavitchers as Citizens: A Paradox of Liberal Democracy and Citizenship, Faith and Feminism: Jewish and Muslim Women Regain Their Rights.

The College of Arts and Sciences Full Professor Lecture Series was designed to give newly promoted faculty an opportunity to share with the university community a single piece of research or overview of research trajectory meant to capture the spark of intellectual excitement that has resulted in their achieving full professor rank.

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