Talhami, Ghada Hashem

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Talhami, Ghada Hashem


Born in Palestine. Education: Western College for Women, B.A.; Foreign Policy University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, M.A.; University of Illinois, Chicago, Ph.D.


Office—Lake Forest College, 555 N. Sheridan Rd., Lake Forest, IL 60045. E-mail—[email protected].


Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL, D.K. Pearson Professor of Politics and of women's studies. Helen Peabody Scholar, Western College for Women, 1962. Fellow, Midwest Faculty Seminar, University of Chicago, 1987. Associate member, University of Chicago Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 1988—. Lecturer, University of Damascus, Syria.


International award, Operation PUSH, Chicago, IL, 1981; Great Teacher Award, Lake Forest College, 1990; Trustee Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Lake Forest College, 1994; Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, 1997; Lifetime Achievement Award, Palestinian-American Women's Society, 2003.



Suakin and Massawa under Egyptian Rule, 1865-1885 (history), University Press of America (Washington, DC), 1979.

Palestine and Egyptian National Identity, Praeger (New York, NY), 1992.

The Mobilization of Muslim Women in Egypt, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 1996.

(Editor, with William W. Haddad and Janice J. Terry) The June 1967 War after Three Decades, after-word by Edward W. Said, Association of Arab- American University Graduates (Washington, DC), 1999.

Syria and the Palestinians: The Clash of Nationalisms, University Press of Florida (Gainesville, FL), 2001.

Palestinian Refugees: Pawns to Political Actors, Nova Science Publishers (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor of articles to collections, including Encyclopedia of Women, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000; Women, Religion and Philanthropy, by Kathleen Mc- Carthy, University Press of Indiana, 2001; The Middle East in Turmoil, edited by John V. Canfield, Volume I, Nova Science Publishers (New York, NY), 2002; Contemporary Arab Thought: Studies in Post-1967 Arab Intellectual History, by Ibrahim Abu Rabi', Pluto Press (London, England), 2004; September 11 and World Politics, edited by Gokhan Bacik and Bulent Aras, Fatih University Press (Istanbul, Turkey), 2004. Contributor to academic journals, including Middle East Policy, Muslim World, National Strategy Forum Review, and Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations.


Scholar Ghada Hashem Talhami is one of the leading thinkers about the situation of women in the Muslim world. Her primary field of study is the struggle of third-world women—women in the Islamic world and Palestinian women in particular—to find a means of expression that liberates them both from oppression at home and from the expectations of the Western world. "The American feminist movement has always stressed electoral rights, political rights, education, the glass ceiling, and sexual freedom. These issues are really irrelevant to Third World women—terribly irrelevant," she said in an interview with Banafsheh Saifollahi published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. "What is more important for Third World women is the context of their oppression."

Talhami studies that context in several different works, including Syria and the Palestinians: The Clash of Nationalisms. The volume looks at the intermittent Syrian support for Palestinian nationalists—including those classified as terrorists—as well as the attitudes toward the Palestinians prevalent throughout the entire Arab world. In Talhami's eyes, the Palestinian leadership made a strategic error by placing their own needs for political independence from Israel ahead of a broader Arab nationalism. "Whereas Syrian approaches have been steadfastly pan-Arabist in character, she argues," Robert B. Ashmore declared in Middle East Policy, "Palestinian ideology has evolved from the pan-Arabism of its original covenant to a nationalism that has weakened the struggle for liberation." These different groups, explained Jonathan Schanzer in a review of the book published in the Middle East Quarterly, interact in ways that "she finds often lead to the ‘interference of one state in the affairs of others.’ With differing goals and circumstances, each movement deliberately and unknowingly detracts from the others."

Arab nationalism is a tricky subject in many ways. Many Middle East states were formed in the early twentieth century, following the breakup of the Ottoman empire at the conclusion of World War I. Palestine's early existence was complicated by the conflicting agendas of the British government that ruled the area under a mandate from the League of Nations for decades. In 1917 the British declared their support for a national Jewish state with its capitol at Jerusalem—the center of British Palestine—through the Balfour Declaration, while at the same time maintaining an independent Palestinian state in the same area. The modern situation in the area is at least in part the result of this confusion. "Ghada Talhami's book," stated Bassel F. Salloukh in the Middle East Journal, "… is also a deft analysis of the PLO's ideological and political transformations in response to a number of important historical events: the 1967 War, the 1970 Black September, Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990." The book, the reviewer stated, is "a fine exploration of a continuously-evolving relationship."

"All those concerned with justice and the morality of foreign and domestic policy," Ashmore concluded, "must express gratitude to Professor Talhami for breaking new ground in analysis of this complex and tragic conflict in the Middle East, the conclusion of which is nowhere in sight."



Arab Studies Quarterly, winter, 2004, Jamal R. Nassar, review of Palestinian Refugees: Pawns to Political Actors, p. 73.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 1992, M.W. Suleiman, review of Palestine and Egyptian National Identity, p. 378; February 1997, review of The Mobilization of Muslim Women in Egypt, p. 1045.

Contemporary Sociology, July, 1993, F. Muge Gocek, review of Palestine and Egyptian National Identity, p. 509.

International Affairs, October, 1993, Nasser Kalawoun, review of Palestine and Egyptian National Identity, p. 809.

Journal of Palestine Studies, spring, 1993, Joel Beinin, review of Palestine and Egyptian National Identity, p. 126; winter, 2002, Fayez Hammad, "Damascus versus the PLO," p. 92.

Middle East Journal, spring, 1993, Joel Gordon, review of Palestine and Egyptian National Identity, p. 342; winter, 2002, Bassel F. Salloukh, review of Syria and the Palestinians: The Clash of Nationalisms, p. 166.

Middle East Policy, December, 2001, Robert B. Ashmore, review of Syria and the Palestinians, p. 164.

Middle East Quarterly, winter, 2003, Jonathan Schanzer, review of Syria and the Palestinians, p. 91.

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May-June, 2006, Banafsheh Saifollahi, "Palestinian Feminism Movement," p. 67.


Lake Forest College Web site,http://www.lakeforest.edu/ (November 15, 2006), author bio.