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Can ‘Arab men’ be ‘engaged’? A Talk by Lewis Turner

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Can ‘Arab men’ be ‘engaged’? Humanitarianism, Syrian refugee and gender-based violence prevention, Lewis Turner, University of Newcastle.

About this event

Abstract: ‘Engaging men’ to prevent gender-based violence is an increasingly prominent part of humanitarian gender work. Based on extensive fieldwork in Jordan, this presentation will examine how, in the context of the Syria refugee response, this work is mediated by humanitarian perceptions and understandings of Arabness. ‘Arab men’ were deemed

insufficiently emotionally open to be successfully ‘engaged’ in violence prevention, heated debates surrounded how the term gender should be translated into Arabic, and humanitarians were reluctant to use ‘local’ frameworks, such as Islam, to ‘vernacularize’ their ‘global’ standards. The Syrian community, therefore, was designated as the ‘beneficiaries’ in this encounter, while its frameworks, language, culture, and gender performances were deemed to stand in the way of these programmes’ successful implementation.

Bio: Lewis Turner is Lecturer in International Politics of Gender at Newcastle University, UK. He is a political ethnographer of humanitarianism in ‘the Middle East’ – particularly Jordan – and his work investigates questions of gender (especially men and masculinities), refugee recognition, vulnerability, labour market integration, and race and racism in humanitarianism. His research on the Syria refugee response has appeared in journals including International Feminist Journal of Politics, Middle East Critique, and Review of International Studies, and has received prizes from professional associations including the British International Studies Association and the Political Studies Association. He holds a PhD in Politics and International Relations from SOAS University of London.