In this panel discussion, Hoover Oral Historian Halima Kazem and Hoover Fellow Kelly J. Shannon will discuss the often overlooked or forgotten histories of women’s rights activism and resistance against oppressive regimes in Iran and Afghanistan that stretch back 120 years. While the discussion will detail the history of the women’s movements in each country, the speakers will also highlight the convergences and similarities between the Afghan and Iranian women’s rights movements. This history of women’s resistance is centrally important to Afghan and Iranian women’s struggles today.

The panel discussion will include brief presentations by both speakers, followed by a moderated discussion with the panel host and audience. The talk will be moderated by Lalita du Perron, Associate Director of the Stanford Center for South Asia, and Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Michelle Mercer and Bruce Golden Family Professorship in Feminist and Gender Studies, Director of the Program on Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Professor of History.

This talk is presented by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives and co-sponsored by the Stanford Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Stanford Center for South Asia.

HILA logo combined with Stanford's Program in Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies



About the Speakers

Dr. Halema Kazem photograph

Dr. Halima KazemHART Oral History Project Manager, is currently building an oral history archive on Afghanistan and the US Afghan war at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives. Halima is also a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is producing a documentary about Afghan women’s struggle against the current Taliban regime. Halima holds a Ph.D. in feminist studies from UC Santa Cruz and a master’s in business and economic journalism from New York University. She was a journalism and human rights lecturer at San Jose State University for a decade after spending 17 years as a journalist and filmmaker reporting on Afghanistan’s war and rebuilding efforts. Halima worked as a human rights researcher for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and as a journalism instructor for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. She is the co-producer of “Frontrunner,” a documentary chronicling the campaign of the first female presidential candidate in Afghanistan.

Dr. Kelly Shannon photograph

Dr. Kelly J. Shannon is the 2023-2024 W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Previously an Associate Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University, she has also served as the Executive Director of the Center for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights and the Chastain-Johnston Middle Eastern Studies Distinguished Professor in Peace Studies, and was a faculty member at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Dr. Shannon specializes in the history of U.S. foreign relations, with a particular focus on the Islamic world, Iran, and women’s human rights. She is the author of U.S. Foreign Policy and Muslim Women’s Human Rights (2018), has spoken in many academic and public settings, and has been featured in the Washington Post, IranSource, NPR, The Atlantic, multiple podcasts, and other media outlets. She is a consultant for Women’s Learning Partnership, a transnational nongovernmental organization that promotes women’s leadership, civic engagement, and human rights in the Global South; and is a member of the Atlantic Council's Iran Strategy Project Working Group. Dr. Shannon is the recipient of many grants and honors, including the 2019 Stuart L. Bernath Lecture Prize, one of the highest honors in the field of U.S. diplomatic history. She is currently working on a book, The Ties That Bind: U.S.-Iran Relations, 1905–1953, about the foundations of the U.S. relationship with Iran.


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