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Do (Muslim) Girls Really Need Saving? Taking the Rock Camp Model of Girls’ Empowerment to Bahrain
Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 7:00pm
Do (Muslim) Girls Really Need Saving? Taking the Rock Camp Model of Girls’ Empowerment to Bahrain

Smith Memorial Student Union, room 236, 1825 SW Broadway
Free & open to the public


A play on the title of Lila Abu-Lughod’s important 2002 essay, ‘Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?’, this talk explores questions that emerged when colleagues from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls in Portland traveled to Bahrain in August, 2013. Invited by the U.S. Embassy to do cultural outreach, they put on a modified version of the girls’ empowerment camp founded in Portland, Oregon. The project included a component of cross-cultural zine-making and video exchange with a group of girls in Portland.

This collaborative discussion will outline the socio-political context for girls’ empowerment programs in the Gulf, the particular situation in Bahrain, and how a program with a western-style girls’ empowerment message was modified and adapted by the organizers and the girls themselves over the course of the camp. Featuring film clips, photographs and images created by the girls, this presentation explores one site of radical differences and unlikely similarities, contextualizing larger theoretical issues of transnational girlhood and girl-lead social change. The talk is designed to engage the audience in discussion, and provides plenty of openings for questions and answers.


Nadia Buyse is a trans-disciplinary performance artist, musician, and cultural activist living in Portland. She has been in at least 30 bands she can remember. She has toured the United States and Europe, playing in a range of spaces from music festivals, punk clubs, house shows, and discotheques. She has also exhibited work internationally and nationally, including the MDW Art Fair in Chicago, Beta Spaces in New York, dOCUMENTA (13), and ART STAYS in Ptuj, Slovenia.
Sarah Dougher is an educator, writer and musician from Portland, Oregon. In summer 2013, she taught teenage girls music in Bahrain under the auspices of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, where she is a frequent volunteer teacher and consultant. She currently teaches on popular music cultures and girls’ studies at Portland State University, and is writing a book about tweens and music with colleague Diane Pecknold.
Beth Wooten is Executive Director of Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls, and has volunteered at Willie Mae Rock Camp in Brooklyn, NYC as well as Girls Rock Charleston, SC. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, where she worked at their Domestic Violence legal aid, and researched contractual and copyright issues facing Girl Group era female musicians.


Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) is an interdisciplinary program designed to foster students’ personal and intellectual development in the study of gender and sexuality within both local and global contexts; the intersectional analysis of race, gender, class, culture and disability; power, systems of privilege, and resistance; and the links between theoretical understandings of feminist/queer studies and community activism.  A degree in WGSS prepares students for socially responsible community involvement and a broad range of careers in community agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies. Additionally, the WGSS program offers a foundation for graduate work in professional degree programs such as teaching, counseling, social work, legal studies, public health, business administration, and advocacy. | | 725-3516

The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library. | | 503-725-4074