Stories are a way to seek justice, because without listening to others, who have different cultural perspectives, there can be no understanding of conflict, inequity, and diverse traumatic memories.
Justice through Stories
For the past twenty years, my research has been shaped by working with survivors of torture, by women who fought as guerrilla fighters, by refugees who have re-shaped their lives and identities in trans-national crossings.
I believe that stories reside not only in the texts that travel globally, such as blogs, but also in the plays of the stage, the cries of street poets, and the political performances of Arab and African Spring.
Iraq and Stories
Both my teaching and my research on gender and protest have been deeply shaped by living in Shaqlawa, Iraq, during sanctions and amidst the civil war. Listening to stories and histories of friends, I studied Sorani language and Kurdish culture, especially how stories and songs were important in times of atrocity for transitioning from individual alienation to re-building community in a young democracy.
Also, my time in Palestine/Israel, Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt have influenced my views of ongoing dictatorships and time lines given by western media for democracy and political healing. Years later in Seattle, I facilitated a performance forum with Shiite women to raise awareness of refugee crisis.
After living in Iraq, my interest in how stories provide a witness to the past and are part of the shaping of post-war identity continued as I lived for almost two years in South Africa, and return every other year.
South Africa and Stories
I attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, analyzed theater, and worked with a South African psychologist on a drama workshop for former political prisoners of Apartheid. This workshop led to the testimonial play Khumbulani / Remembrance.
My interdisciplinary approach is due to Northwestern University, where my Ph.D. committee reflected professors from African Studies, Performance Studies, Postcolonial Theater/Lit.
At home in Seattle, I have a daughter, who is named after the storyteller Sheherazad, a husband, who shares the same birthday as William Shakespeare, and a tabby cat, Lucy, who models sleeping grace, when I need to start writing.
This brief biography is extended on department site.
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