Hind Ahmed Zaki
Assistant Professor of Political Science and Literatures, Cultures, and Languages
Hind Ahmed Zaki’s research focuses on the politics of women’s rights in the Middle East. She focuses on understanding different models of state feminism in the region and how they influenced the history and development of feminist movements in the Arab world. Her research interests also include transnational feminism, women’s rights movements, and feminist political theory.
Ahmed Zaki analyzes how historical constructions of women’s rights, as represented in institutions and narratives of state feminism, shaped feminist mobilization in the course of the Arab Spring, resulting in surprisingly empowering episodes of legal and political mobilization for women’s rights. The broader implication of these findings questions the assumption that democratic transition and gender justice go hand-in-hand. Her current book project explores historical legacies of state feminism in Egypt and Tunisia and the role of women’s rights movements in the Arab Spring in renegotiating and redefining those legacies.
Ahmed Zaki received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington in 2018; her MA in political science and gender studies from the American University in Cairo in 2008; and her BA in political science from Cairo University in 2001. Before joining UConn, she was the Harold Grinspoon Research Fellow at Brandeis University. She previously served as a postdoctoral research associate and postdoctoral fellow at the Middle East Initiative at Harvard University. In addition to her academic work, Ahmed Zaki serves as a consultant to a number of local women’s rights organizations in Egypt and the broader Middle East.
Q&A with Hind Ahmed Zaki
What are your research interests?
I am interested in transnational feminism, women’s rights movements, feminist political theory, State Feminism, the Arab Spring, and governance and politics in the Middle East.
How did you become interested in this type of work?
My research agenda is driven by the desire to understand local and global intersections of gender inequality. As an intersectional feminist, I always wanted to teach and write about women’s rights.
What courses will you be teaching this year?
I will teach a course on the gender and politics in the Middle East, a seminar on contemporary politics in the Middle East, and a course on contemporary women’s writings in the Middle East and North Africa region.
What drew you to UConn?
I was attracted to the idea of teaching in a public school with a large and diverse student body. I am also very excited about teaching students from all walks of life and getting them interested in the politics of the world around them. I am also especially excited about instructing courses that teach students about the modern societies, politics, and cultures of the Middle East—a region that is often misunderstood in the West for a complex set of historical and contemporary reasons.