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Lihi Ben Shitrit
Visiting Assistant Professor of Women's Studies and Religion and Society and WSRP Research Associate
Lihi Ben Shitrit is an assistant professor at the School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia, Athens. She holds a PhD, MPhil, and MA in political science from Yale University, and a BA in Middle Eastern studies from Princeton University. Her research interests center on the intersections of gender, religion, and politics in the Middle East. She is currently working on a book manuscript, titled "Frames of Exception: Women's Activism in Jewish and Muslim Religious-Political Movements." The project sets out to explain the variation in forms of women's political engagement in socially conservative religious movements in the Middle East through a comparative ethnographic study of four movements: the Jewish Settlers in the West Bank, the ultra-Orthodox Shas, the Islamic Movement in Israel, and the Palestinian Hamas. It builds on over two years of fieldwork supported by fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.
Additional research projects in progress include a study of the impact of legislated women's quotas on the gender politics of religious parties in the Middle East, and a study of the religious politics of Palestinian Bedouin women in the Negev Desert. Among her forthcoming publications are: "Women, Freedom and Agency: Reflections from Women Activists in Shas and the Islamic Movement in Israel" (Journal of Middle East Women's Studies); "Religion, Society and Politics in the Middle East" (with Robert Lee in The Middle East, CQ Press); "Activism and Civil War in Libya" (with Intissar K. Rajabany in Taking to the Streets: Activism, Arab Uprisings, and Democratization, Johns Hopkins University Press).
Ben Shitrit has taught courses on Middle East politics, women and politics, and religion and politics at DePaul University. She has also worked extensively with Israeli and Palestinian NGOs on projects pertaining to women's rights and human rights, democracy, conflict resolution, and peace-building. Before completing her PhD she also worked with the U.S. State Department and USAID on Israeli-Palestinian conflict mitigation programs.