Do (Muslim) Girls Really Need Saving?

Do (Muslim) Girls Really Need Saving? 

Taking the Rock Camp Model of Girls’ Empowerment to Bahrain


Thursday, January 23, 2014 – 7:00pm




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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.


Cosponsored by Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and The Middle East Studies Center.




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