Infatuated with Feminism and the Arab Spring

Fellowship Recipient
Fellowship Recipient

Passionate about feminism, Sara Verderi, the first recipient of the Cynthia Nelson Endowed Fellowship in Gender and Women’s Studies, has been always fascinated with leading female figures with specific emphasis on women activists during the Arab Spring.

Originally from Italy, Verderi explains that her interest in the subject of feminism goes back to her undergraduate studies at the University of Bologna. She founded a reading and research group in which she and her colleagues read pivotal texts on feminism and reported stories depicting female figures living in her local community. Verderi’s research during her undergraduate studies focused on the Arab world. Her thesis titled, “Creative Resistance in the 15th March Syrian Revolution and Diaries of Samar Yazbek,” focused on the contribution of the Syrian novelist — as woman and activist — in the popular uprising.

Verderi joined AUC in Fall 2013 and is currently spending a semester in New Delhi, India at the Center for Women Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University, which has an exchange program with AUC’s Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies Center (IGWS). Verderi’s current research focuses on the historical process of the writings of the January 25 Revolution and women’s political commitment to this process.

“I am honored to be a part of one of the leading institutions in the Middle East, which allows me to benefit from advanced research as well as living in Cairo during this challenging historical moment,” affirmed Verderi. Along her studies at AUC, Verderi worked in partnership with Professor Lorenzo Kamel from the University of Bologna on a chapter of the book De-Orientalizing the Arab Awakening titled “Gender Perspectives,” which will be published by Manchester University Press in 2014.

Verderi also served as a fellowship assistant at IGWS carrying out research about migration and intercultural relations in Italy. During Spring 2014, Sara took part in the work-study program and worked to re-organize the resource collection in the IGWS. Verderi presented a paper at the AUC Graduate Symposium 2014 titled, “The Glue of a Mosaic: Re-imagining the State in Syria.”

According to Verderi, the opportunity to receive the Cynthia Nelson Endowed Fellowship has helped her pursue her master’s degree and fulfill her thirst for knowledge in gender studies. “Believing in the importance of education as a cornerstone of historical processes, I perceive that my impact on society consists into intervening into knowledge production and education so as to generate an impact on the formation of social context and subjectivities which inform it,” explained Verderi. “I am grateful for having given this chance; being part of AUC has been revealing extremely inspirational and stimulating for going further in my academic career.”