This bio is current as of 2022.

Kelly McGee is a public interest lawyer fighting for reproductive justice as a public defender representing parents accused of abuse or neglect in New York City. She has presented at a UNESCO conference on the criminalization of pregnancy outcomes. She is also the author of “What’s So Exceptional about Immigration and Family Law Exceptionalism? An Analysis of Canonical Family and Immigration Law as Reflective of American Nationalism” for the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law’s Symposium. She graduated Georgetown in 2019 and is a Kellogg ISP 2016 grad. Her future career goals include attaining an LMSW next year and a PhD in the future. 

Adviser: Atalia Omer

Thesis Title:Nationalism and Feminism: Mutually Exclusive Endeavors? A study of structural and gendered violence in the Occupied West Bank

In my thesis I intend to examine how Palestinian women in the occupied West Bank are impacted by occupation and the militarization of Palestinian society in respects to structural and domestic violence. I intend to gauge how systems of violence have changed over time, specifically, after the first and second intifada until today. The first and second intifada represented drastic shifts in the “imagined Palestinian woman” and her role in resistance, but I wish to see whether that has transferred into changed status in society and the home. Structural violence against women will be gauged through a review of the Palestinian legal system. The result of consecutive occupations, it consists in part of dated Jordanian law in the West Bank. The legal systems of both the British Mandate and the Israeli Administration of the Occupied Territories have also left their legacies. In addition, religious laws emanating from the Quran and tradition have a large impact on women’s position and social status in Palestine. This strange amalgamation of legal sources, in combination with an internal political paralysis preventing their amendment, form the basis of a legal system that discriminates against women. I will analyze the development and amendment of this code over time, to see if changes in the perception of women in society and her involvement in resistance are matched by legal reform in the area of women’s rights. Levels of domestic violence will also be measured against the former variable. UN and WCLAC reports, as well as qualitative interviews conducted during the spring of 2015 with Palestinian legal advocacy organizations such as Al Haq, will form the basis for this analysis. Should, as I believe, little change in structural and domestic violence occur after pivotal moments for women in the resistance one must ask the question: Has the women’s movement in Palestine suffered as a result of taking the backseat to the cause of the nation? And must the project of national liberation take precedence over that of women’s rights, as many feminists of color and third world feminists claim? Are they mutually exclusive endeavors?

Arabic Studies
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