Peer Reviewed Journal Article
 Mhajne, Anwar and Rasmus Brandt. “Rights, Democracy and Islamist Women’s Activism in Tunisia and Egypt.” Religion and Politics, October 2020.
Abstract: In the early days after the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, Islamist movements and parties appeared to be the winners of the political transformation. This opened new opportunities for activism and political participation for Islamist men and women. The political organizing of the Egyptian Muslim Sisterhood and Ennahda women in Tunisia before, during and after the uprisings provides a significant case for addressing the gap in the literature on Islamist women’s political organizing and agency. Moreover, it addresses the lack of scholarly attention to the Muslim Sisterhood and Ennahda women and the agency they manifest in their sociopolitical activism. Relying on primary and secondary interviews with these activists, this article traces the framing strategies, activism, and roles of Islamist women in Egypt and Tunisia. In both cases, we argue government repression and backlash against Islamist movements is a shared experience and a central topic of identification for Islamist women. Islamist women in Tunisia and Egypt became more visible in the aftermath of the uprisings and reached into decision making bodies such as a parliament when their countries were on the path toward democracy. Women from the two groups highlight democracy, freedom, human rights, and women’s rights to frame their activism.
 Niven, David, Anwar Mhajne, and Alexis Straka. “Who Reveals, Who Conceals? Gender and Candidate Communication Styles,” Political Research Quarterly, March 2019.
Abstract: Do women candidates in the United States more openly provide the specific details of their policy preferences and make clear their political ideology? Previous research supports all manner of conflicting expectations regarding gender and campaign communication strategies. Here, with an eye toward offering evidence on the degree to which candidates make clear their issue positions, we consider how more than 1,300 candidates running in the 2016 elections from fifteen randomly chosen states answered voter guide questions. We do so both to better understand the murky theoretical relationship between gender and communication styles and to offer insight into the practical realities of how women run for office. Ultimately our findings support the notion that women run for office differently, offering less transparency of their issue positions than men. The implication, consistent with a theory of conditional political ambition, is that women weigh more seriously the decision to run for office and, thus, run more sophisticated campaigns when they do pursue office.
 Mhajne, Anwar, and Crystal Whetstone. “The Use of Political Motherhood in Egypt’s Arab Spring Uprising and Aftermath.”International Feminist Journal of Politics, October 2017. DOI:10.1080/14616742.2017.1371624.
Abstract: Political motherhood, which uses traditional motherhood to mobilize and sustain women’s political participation, is understudied in political science. Women played a significant role in Egypt’s Arab Spring and its aftermath by “bargaining with patriarchy” and strategically using traditional motherhood to access the political sphere. In this article, we develop a theoretical argument based on the work of Gentry, Carreon and Moghadam and Amar. We illustrate it with examples drawn from news articles on women’s political activism and social media posts by Egyptian activists. Our argument explores how women’s agency and the larger political context in which women operate reveals how political motherhood takes the particular shape that it does. In the context of Egypt, we examine how the state’s choice to highlight women as “hypervisible” citizens, worthy of protection, backfired. Through a bottom-up political motherhood, women used their respectability as mothers in need of state protection against the state, thereby legitimizing anti-Mubarak and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations and challenging these governments
 Calfano, Brian and Anwar Mhajne. “Muslim Women in the US: Pathways and Perceptions” in Brian Robert Calfano, Nazita Lejarvardi, and Melissa Michelson, ed. Understanding Muslim Political Life in America: (Contested) Citizenship in the Trump Era, Temple University, May 2019.
 Mhajne, Anwar and Crystal Whetstone. “Troubling Conceptions of Motherhood: State Feminism and Political Agency of Women in the Global South” in Laura J. Shepherd, ed. Troubling Motherhood: Maternity and the State,Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2019.
Abstract:In this chapter, we explore the ways in which political institutions in three countries – Egypt, Sri Lanka, and Argentina – interact with religious and cultural conceptions of motherhood to provide women with social authority, often through respectability politics.State and societal dynamics in each case forced women to bargain with patriarchy in order to secure political gains using – and therefore reproducing – respectability politics. In each of these three cases from different geographical regions of the world, our analysis has revealed how women’s “bargaining with patriarchy” by employing patriarchal discourses on respectable femininity and maternal identities enabled some women to engage, challenge and resist the state. By using respectability politics centered around maternalism and the institution of motherhood, women have helped to advance democratization by challenging human rights abuses and/or furthered women’s participation in politics.With these three cases, we demonstrate how, in certain political and cultural contexts where religion and women’s roles as the foundation of the family significantly structure the lives of women, motherhood has been utilized as a powerful tool for political mobilization and contestation.
 Mhajne, Anwar. “Political Opportunities for Islamist Women in Morocco and Egypt” in Hanane Darhour and Drupe Dahlerup, ed. An Age of Uncertainty: The Double-Edged Politics of Empowering and Sidelining Women in the MENA Region,Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
Abstract: This asks how do political opportunity structures (POS) - i.e., political openings for and obstructions against organizing - shape Islamist women’s political participation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)? The chapter examines this question in the context of how the POS shapes Islamist women’s political participation in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Morocco’s Justice and Development Party (JDP) while simultaneously addressing the marginalization of Islamist women in the study of state-society politics. It also explores how Islamist women’s political organizing and framing strategies, in turn, reshape these political opportunities. To address how Islamist women, respond to the changes in the POS, this chapter looks at the mobilizing mediums (formal and informal) women utilize and their framing strategies in different political contexts. By applying mobilization and framing perspectives, the author sheds light on how the activities of Islamist women impact political elites’ backing for the movement’s agendas. It considers how POS influences Islamist women’s organizing strategies (mediums and framings) and how these strategies influence POS. It reveals how a lack of gender analysis of POS can mask certain important political processes and applies a theoretical framework that views the POS as dynamic.
Encyclopedic Book Chapter
Runyan, Anne Sisson, Anwar Mhajne, Crystal Whetstone, and Rina Verma Williams. “Feminisms in Comparative Perspective” in Nancy Naples, ed. Companion to Feminist Studies. New York: Wiley Blackwell, forthcoming 2020.
 Mhajne, Anwar. Review of Polarized and Demobilized: Legacies of Authoritarianism in Palestine by Dana El KurdAlMuntaqa 3, no. 1 (2020): 91-93. Accessed July 22, 2020. doi:10.31430/almuntaqa.3.1.0091.
 Mhajne, Anwar. Review of Jane Freedman, Zeynep Kivilcim and Nurcan Özgür Baklacıoğlu, A Gendered Approach to the Syrian Refugee Crisisin Political Studies Review(2019).
 Mhajne, Anwar. Review of Sylvester, Christine. War as Experience: Contributions from International Relations and Feminist Analysis in International Feminist Journal of Politics 17, no. 1 (2015): 187-189.
 Mhajne, Anwar. Review of Dal, Mikala Hyldig, Cairo: Images of Transition - Perspectives on Visuality in Egypt, 2011-2013 in H-War, H-Net Reviews. March 2016.
Mhajne, Anwar. "Film Review: My So-called Enemy." (2017): 0092055X17743516.
Professional Association Essay
 Mhajne, Anwar. “Middle East Studies Through a Feminist Lens.” The Middle East and North Africa Workshops of the American Political Science Association (11, 2018)
 Mhajne, Anwar. "Women in International Relations: From the Margins to the Center?" International History and Politics- An Organized Section of the American Political Science Association 2 (November 4, 2016): 8-10.
Works in Progress
 Mhajne, Anwar. “Gendered Local Voices in Counterterrorism Policies.”
Abstract: How can the UN and other stakeholders design gender sensitive counterterrorism strategies? To answer this question, I examine current international counterterrorism policies and analyze their effect on women. This paper will also highlight and analyze the initiatives of local women’s groups in countries such as Afghanistan to challenge extremism. Currently, the discourse and actions around terrorism prevention and response are strongly infused with socially-constructed images of masculinity and femininity. Almost all notable actors involved in the perpetration of terrorism, as well as those involved in designing and implementing prevention and response measures, have always been male. Women are often ignored and instrumentalized in terrorism prevention and response while being seen primarily as victims. Such approaches have a real and direct impact on women’s rights, with consequences for the right to participation, freedom of association, and freedom of movement, among others. In addition to individual costs, such measures limit social and economic development, equitable distribution of resources, and well-functioning institutions, creating a breeding ground for instability and violence. This paper sheds light on the necessity of context-specific security measures through ongoing engagement with local women’s groups to ensure a more effective response that improves lives and access to rights for all.
 Mhajne, Anwar and Gregory Saxton. “Gender Egalitarian Attitudes and Support for Islamist Parties in the Middle East.” Presented at APSA 2019.
Abstract: How do individuals’ attitudes toward women in politics affect support for Islamist political parties? Women’s issues remain a key point of contention between religious groups and the government. The majority of states in the Middle East and North Africa, including Israel, have given religious institutions authority over issues related to women and the family, for instance, personal status laws. Women’s individual rights are thus sacrificed to mitigate the growing popularity of religious groups and to facilitate alliances between religious groups and the government. The intersection of religion, patriarchy, and the state further reinforces family-centric and communalist views of citizenship that tend to diminish women’s roles and rights as citizens (Joseph 1996). Prior literature shows, for instance, that women’s organization have concerns about Islamist parties coming to power, as women’s rights would be compromised due to the strict imposition of sharia law and there would be no hope for democratic reform (Brumberg, 2002; Waterbury, 1994). An implication of this research is that individuals who want to advance women’s political status may be reluctantly aligned with authoritarian - yet secular and “modern” - military states (i.e. Egypt, Turkey and Algeria) to prevent a potentially sexist and religiously conservative opposition from taking power (e.g., Brand, 1999; Tohidi and Baynes, 2001). Other research on gender and politics suggests individuals with gender egalitarian views should be more inclined to believe that all groups are deserving of democratic representation. Barnes and Córdova (2016), for instance, find that support for gender quotas and pro-democratic attitudes in Latin America are strongly and positively correlated. An implication of this research is that individuals who want to advance women’s political status should support equal access to representation for all groups, Islamist or secular. To test these competing expectations, we analyze novel survey data from 9 Muslim majority countries (Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies). Our analysis lends support to our second set of expectations. Individuals with gender egalitarian views about women in politics (i.e., support in principle for a woman president or prime minister) are more likely to say that Islamist groups (specifically, the Muslim Brotherhood) should be allowed to have a political party. These results suggest that support for democratic principles, such as the right to political representation, ameliorate concerns that Islamist parties will restrict women’s rights if they come to power.
 Mhajne, Anwar and Crystal Whetstone. "From Syria to the US: the US Refugee Resettlement Program and Shifting Gender Dynamics."
Abstract: Until the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States admitted refugees on an ad hoc basis. The Refugee Act of 1980 provided a solid foundation for building a robust resettlement system. Yet in the forty years since the Act’s passage, the United States has not fully lived up to its obligations under the law. Many stakeholders have identified the need for a comprehensive analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the resettlement program. One of the central objectives of the refugee resettlement system is to help refugees achieve “self-sufficiency,” which has traditionally been narrowly focused on finding employment and earning a total income that allows a family to support itself without the receipt of cash assistance from the state. The Act had initially been exempted refugees from work registration requirements for the first 60 days. Still, in 1982, Congress eliminated the exemption, thereby strengthening the connection between self-sufficiency and new employment for refugees. Following the elimination of the exemption, finding work as quickly as possible became the program’s preeminent objective while other priorities outlined in the Act, including English language and employment training programs, were marginalized. The emphasis on self-sufficiency and economic independence risks limiting opportunities for refugees to become accustomed to their new surroundings, find jobs appropriate to their skill sets and access social services that could improve their long-term outcomes. Furthermore, it overlooks a more robust understanding of integration which includes linguistic, and cultural integration. While working through past traumas and dealing with cultural differences and unfamiliar contexts in their new lives in the US, refugees regularly cite the language barrier as their most trying obstacle. Language barriers can reduce employment opportunities and make it difficult for refugees to navigate systems such as healthcare or effectively communicate with law enforcement officials in emergencies. The failure to provide sufficient resources alongside stresses brought by the local backlash against the resettlement system, has had a corrosive effect on the experience of refugees with consequences for longstanding familial and social roles. This study explores how such disruptions exacerbated by a problematic refugee resettlement program in the US influenced gender dynamics in Syrian refugee families residing in the US. This study explores how such disorders have influenced associations between gender and apparent self-worth experienced by Syrian refugee families upon relocation to the United States. It examines how the new challenges in the US have contributed to changing power dynamics between men and women, thus creating more tension in the family. We rely on interviews to recruit 30 participants from Cincinnati and Boston, who were interviewed by a bilingual interviewer. We expect to find significant gender differences in language, self-reported health, ability to budget for household expenses and access to formal social networks and quality housing. We also expect that stressors produced by the refugee resettlement programs caused changes in the family structure where men started relying on their wives and young daughters, to provide for the family, especially in lower-class families. We expect some women to report an increase in freedoms, power, and demands within the family. We also hope women to express a desire to maintain cultural, religious, and traditional gender roles.
 Mhajne, Anwar and Crystal Whetstone. "Combative Civil Society: Contesting Political Leaders’ Power Grabs in Crises."
Abstract: To manage COVID-19, globally, governments instituted national emergencies, prohibited large social gatherings, and introduced travel bans and lockdowns. Such responses, however necessary they may have been from a health perspective, have allowed politicians to erode democracy and human rights by undercutting checks and balances and justifying surveillance policies. Some of this has been met with approval from a public rallying around the flag—when citizens put their trust in government to manage a crisis. Yet power grabs have also provoked resistance in the United States, Israel, Poland, Hungary and China—and the question is how long the rally-around-the-flag effect will mitigate the anger. In a snapshot from the rise of COVID-19 through fall 2020, we use the comparative case method to explore countries that represent a variety of regime types. Using a theoretical framework based in state-civil society relations, we trace how governments responded to popular resistance against leaders’ power grabs in three ways: by ignoring resistance, repressing resistance or conceding to resistance. A rally effect enabled some leaders to abuse power in the early stages of the pandemic through justifiable emergency rule. Our central argument is that initial popular resistance was hindered due to a rally effect. However, rallies were largely temporary, or held only for certain issues. After a short rally in Israel and a partial rally in the US, both exacerbated by political polarization, elements of civil society have since contested political leaders’ further power grabs. Even with barriers against civil society in Hungary and Poland, popular resistance slowed political leaders’ power grabs. In China, obstacles to voicing dissent are great; civil society may be effectively shut down for some time to come. Nevertheless, Hongkongers continue to contest the regime’s power grabs in the face of COVID-19. This research contributes to strategies of democracy promotion in crises.