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March 7, 2006 - On Friday, March 24, the Seventh Annual Resourceful Women's Conference will kickoff with a showing of the documentary Four Women from Egypt, a film by Tahani Rached. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Kretschmer Recital Hall of the Aquinas Art and Music Center and is free. The documentary explores opposing religious, social and political views in modern-day Egypt. Deb Wickering, Ph.D., Aquinas Assistant Professor of Anthropology, will lead a discussion following the film.

The Saturday, March 25 session begins at 9 a.m. in the Wege Student Center Ballroom. The Keynote Speaker is Lila Abu-Lughod, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Columbia University, New York, New York. The title of her talk is "The Muslim Woman: The Power of Images and the Dangers of Pity."

Abu-Lughod has published widely on gender in the Middle East, paying special attention to cultural forms such as poetry, storytelling, media and to the politics of representing other societies more generally. She has particularly interested in gender and feminism and is beginning a project on gender, religion and human rights with special reference to the problems of the Muslim Woman for liberal feminists.

Her books include "Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society" and "Writing Women's Worlds: Bedouin Stories," both based on years of fieldwork in Egypt in the 1980s; "Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East," a critical look at the history of feminist projects in the Middle East; and "Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt," a book about the role of the popular Egyptian soap operas in the lives of socially marginal women.

Middle Eastern lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. with a special performance by the Dark Flowered Gypsies dance troupe. Reservations and prepayment are required for lunch by March 20. Lunch is $8 general public and $4 students with ID. Contact the Women's Studies Center at (616) 632-2979 to make a reservation.

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