Dr. Eugenia Afinoguénova
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Assistant Professor of Arabic

I have a B.A. in Arab and Muslim History from Birzeit University, Palestine, where I was born and raised. As an undergraduate, I worked as a research assistant for a project on Arab and Muslim scholars’ and travelers’ texts written during the Abbasid period (750-1258). This experience influenced my decision to continue my graduate education in Arab and Muslim history and culture and triggered my current research.

My research is also influenced by my background. Growing up in Al-Berieh Ramallah, in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank taught me what it means to be a woman in a patriarchal society which limits female choices; at the same time, it exposed me to the military occupation and the unbearable atmosphere of fear that accompanies it. These two struggles - to be a woman and to live under occupation - have shaped my entire graduate and postgraduate career. In addition, my immigration to the United States and my social, ethnic, cultural, religious, and racial status as a Palestinian Arab Muslim woman,  have led me to study immigration history, cultural encounters in the diaspora, and, most importantly, the position of women and their self-determination of their identities before and after immigration.

After graduating with a Ph.D. in American and Middle East history from Marquette University, I established a non-profit organization, the Arab and Muslim Women’s Research and Resource Institute (AMWRRI), whose mission is to raise awareness about the situation of Arab and Muslim women in the U.S. and to combat negative representations and stereotypes about this group. AMWRRI documents Arab and Muslim women’s history and contributions in the United States and abroad and disseminates information through publications, online archives, public events, and exhibits. I have published several articles that deal with Arab community in Milwaukee and cultural encounters between American and Arab women in colonial sitting.

I teach courses on Arabic language, literature, culture and history. Currently, I am working on a book project entitled Dogmas of Womanhood and Feminism: Encounters Between American Missionaries and Palestinian Women from the 1880s to the 1940s.The book is an interdisciplinary analysis that examines the cultural encounter between American missionary women and Palestinians of late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. In turn, it examines how the American mission in Ramallah, Palestine and its Friends Girls School FGS were a channel for the infiltration of American culture to Palestinians through the English language, literature and other forms of cultural and societal values. The book also examines the impact of Arab teachers and the secular aspect of the FGS academic curriculum and extracurricular activities during the British Mandate period on the Palestinian students’ identities.

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