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Tribute: “In Honor of Nawal El Saadawi, ‘Daughter of Isis,’ 1931-2021”

March 29, 2021 | 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The Arab world’s leading feminist activist and writer, Nawal El Saadawi died on Sunday March 21, 2021. She was 89. Between 1993-1997, Dr. El Saadawi spent four years at Duke University. She sheltered with us after Islamists in Egypt published “Nawal El Saadawi in the Witness Box,” a widely available, cheap book that made the case that this “heretic” should be condemned to death. It was at Duke University that she first taught undergraduates. She was an immediate success in the classroom. Her Dissidence and Creativity classes inspired countless students to make their lives meaningful. It was at Duke University that she wrote the first two volumes of her autobiography translated into English as “Daughter of Isis” and “Walking through Fire” as well as her very controversial “God Resigns at the Summit.” She was writing the third volume during the past five years of her life when illness prevented completion.

A panel of friends and colleagues will address her impact on them before and while she was at Duke University.


• Ranjana Khanna, Director, Franklin Humanities Institute;

Professor, English, Program in Literature, and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies

• Ellen McLarney, Associate Professor and Chair, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies;

Director, Duke University Middle East Studies Center


• miriam cooke, Braxton Craven Distinguished Professor Emerita of Arab Cultures, Duke University

Short Reflections

• Margot Badran, Global Fellow, The Wilson Center

• Walter Mignolo, William Hane Wannamaker Distinguished Professor of Romance Studies, Duke University

• Evelyne Accad, Professor Emerita, Lebanese American University

• Leila Ahmed, Victor S. Thomas Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School

• Bruce Lawrence, Nancy and Jeffrey Marcus Humanities Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Religion, Duke University

Zoom Registration link

Presented by Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke Islamic Studies Center, Duke University Middle East Studies Center, and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies.

Duke University


March 29, 2021
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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