Atkinson professor lights up the screen

Atkinson Professor Haideh Moghissi (left) may not be a star in the Hollywood sense, but the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) considers her a bright spark. She is one of a few academics featured in a 12-minute film made by SSHRC to mark its 25th anniversary.

“On behalf of my colleagues, Dominique LaCasse and Dory Cameron, I wanted to thank you for contributing to the success of SSHRC’s 25th anniversary video,” said Yves Y. Pelletier, manager of SSHRC external relations, in a letter to Moghissi. “The video – which includes a clip of you discussing your research – really captures the passion and the excitement of members of our research community, as well as the relevance and value of our fields of study.”

“During the filming, we discussed many issues, including the impact of post-September 11 events on the Muslim diaspora,” said Moghissi, professor in the School of Women’s Studies and School of Social Sciences. “Most of what I discussed related to my project on the experience of migration and gender and family relations among four displaced communities from Islamic cultures – Iranian, Afghani, Palestinian and Pakistani.”

Moghissi is the director of a major, collaborative, SSHRC-funded research project entitled “Diaspora, Islam and Gender: A Comparative Study of Four Displaced Communities from Islamic Cultures”. She and her team of researchers are examining each migrant group in two situations: Iranians in Canada and Britain; Afghanis in Canada and Iran; Pakistanis in Canada and Britain; and Palestinians in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. This project is also supported by the Ford Foundation.

For members of each group, researchers analyze three sets of circumstances: an individual’s experience in the home country and in the host country, plus the social and economic conditions and policies in the host country.

A widely published scholar on religion, gender and politics in the Middle East, Moghissi’s most recent book, Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: the Limits of Post-modern Analysis (Zed Press, 1999 and Oxford University Press, 2000), was awarded the 2000 Choice Outstanding Academic Books Award in Sociology.

To learn more about Moghissi’s project visit

To date, the SSHRC video has been screened for SSHRC staff, council members and guests at a 25th anniversary reception at the recent SSHRC congress. It will reach a wider audience when it is shown at a gala celebration in Ottawa this fall, where the SSHRC 25th anniversary awards – Gold Medal and Aurora Prize – will be bestowed. After that event, SSHRC will produce and distribute copies to the researchers profiled in the video, university partners and other stakeholders.