Sondra Hale

Sondra Hale

Sondra Hale

Research Professor, Professor Emerita


Gender Studies

Office: 391 Haines Hall


Phone: 310-206-6505

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Sondra Hale, born to a working-class family in Des Moines, Iowa, graduated from secondary school in Omaha, Nebraska, and went on to the University of Omaha for a year before transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She worked her way through high school and university in various jobs, an important one of which was as a professional comic (namely a ventriloquist). She was also active in theater and the visual arts. She married a UCLA geographer, Gerry Hale, and they embarked on a life-changing journey to Sudan where Sondra has since devoted over 50 years of her life to research and friendships.

Sondra’s life has had four components running simultaneously: activism and service to the community; academic teaching, research and writing; activism and creative writing and curatorial projects in the arts; and family life. She is the mother of two daughters from Eritrea and has devoted considerable energy to negotiating the terrain of transracial family.

Sondra Hale is Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Women’s Studies (UCLA); Co-Founder and past Co-editor of The Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies; former Chair of Women’s Studies (UCLA), now called Gender Studies. She is the ex- Co-Chair of Islamic Studies; and is currently co-Director, UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies, 2012-2013. She has directed two other Women’s Studies Programs in the California State University system.


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1979
M.A., African Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 1967
B.A., English Literature, University of California, Los Angeles

Research Interests

Gender, political economy, social movements, postcolonial and cultural studies, nationalism and colonialism, diaspora, aesthetics, Islam/Islamism, Middle East and Africa (mainly Sudan and Eritrea), Sociocultural Anthropology

Selected Publications

Editor, The Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 2005-2009

2009 Locating Sudan Studies: A Context. Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 1-32.

2009 Transnational Gender Studies and the Migrating Concept of Gender in the Middle East and North Africa. Cultural Dynamics, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 107-152.

2008 Some Notes on Our Africanist/African Past: The Birth and Early Years of Ufahamu. Ufahamu, Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 12-24.

2008 Siyasat Al-Zakra fi Al-Nizaat Al-Sudania: Alnoo wa Al-Hawia wa Al-Watan [The Politics of Memory in Sudanese Conflicts: Gender, Identity, and “Homeland”] Translated and Published in Arabic in Ajeras Al-Hurriyya [Freedom Bells] (Khartoum, Sudan, Periodical), Four-Part Series, No. 74 (June 30), p. 5: No. 75 (July 1), p. 5; No. 76 (July 2), p. 5; and No. 77 (July 3), p. 5.

2008 Al-Siyasah wa Filastin wa Al-Mu’assasah Al-Amirkiyyah fi Al-Qarn 21: Al-Muthaqqafun Al-‘Umumiyyun fi Al-Azminah Al-Sa’bah”[Politics, Palestine, and the U.S. Academy in the 21st Century: Public Intellectuals and Dark Times, published in Arabic] Al-Adab [Literature] (Beirut) 4-6 (April-June) 200b, pp. 27-33.

2008 Sudan. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. Bonnie Smith, ed., Vol. 4. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 167-169.

2007 From Site to Vision: The Woman’s Building in Contemporary Culture. Edited with Terry Wolverton. Electronic Book 

2007 Power and Space: Feminist Culture and the Los Angeles Woman’s Building: A Context. From Site to Vision: The Woman’s Building in Contemporary Culture. Sondra Hale and Terry Wolverton, eds. In Electronic Book 

2007 “At Home” at the Woman’s Building (But Who Gets a Room of Her Own?): Women of Color and Community. With Michelle Moravec. In Electronic Book, From Site to Vision: The Woman’s Building in Contemporary Culture. Sondra Hale and Terry Wolverton, eds. 

2006 “The State of the Women’s Movement in Eritrea.” Northeast African Studies, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 155-178.

2005 “Testimonies in Exile: Sudanese Gender Politics.” Northeast African Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 83-127.

2005 “Activating the Gender Local: Transnational Ideologies and ‘Women’s Culture’ in Northern Sudan. Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Vol. I, No. 1, pp. 29-52.

2005 “Colonial Discourse and Ethnographic Residuals: The ‘Female Circumcision’ Debate and the Politics of Knowledge. In Female Circumcision and the Politics of Knowledge: African Women in Imperialist Discourses. Obioma Nnaemeka, eds. Westport, CT: Praeger, pp. 209-218.

2003 “Sudanese Women in National Service, Militias and the Home” In Women and Globalization in the Arab Middle East. M Pripstein and E. Donmato, eds. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 195-213.

2003 “Sudanese Women in National Service, Militias and the Home” In Women and Globalization in the Arab Middle East. M Pripstein and E. Donmato, eds. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, pp. 195-213.

2003 “Introduction/Preface,” Resistance: My life for Lebanon by Soha Bechara (a memoir). Brooklyn: Soft Skull Press, pp. vii-xiii.

2002 “‘Liberated, But Not Free’: Women in Post-War Eritrea, In Aftermath: Women in Post-War Reconstruction. S. Meintjes, A. Pillay, and M. Turshen, eds. New York: Zed Press, pp. 122-141.

2001 “Alienation and Belonging–Women’s Citizenship and Emancipation: Visions of Sudan’s Post-Islamic Future” New Political Science, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 25-43.

2001 “Soldier and the State-Post-Liberation Women: The Case of Eritrea” In Frontline Feminisms: Women, War and Resistance. Eds. M. Waller and J. Rycenga. New York: Routledge, pp. 349-370.

1999 “Mothers and Militias: Islamic State Construction of Women Citizens of Sudan” Citizenship Studies, vol. 3, no. 3, pp 373-386.

1998 “Some Thoughts on Women and Gender In Africa” Journal of African Studies, vol. 16, pp. 21-30.

1998 “Islam in Africa: Particularisms and Hegemonies” Reviews in Anthropology, vol. 3, pp. 57-69.

1998 “International Gender Discourses: Comparative Research Agendas and Methodologies—the Middle East and the United States.” Cairo Papers in Social Science, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 68-93.

1997 Ideology and Identity: Islamism, Gender and the State in Sudan. In Mixed Blessings: Gender and Religious Fundamentalism. J. Brink and J. Mencher, eds. New York: Routledge. Pp. 117-142.

1996 Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism, and the State. Boulder: Westview Press.


Luckman Distinguished Teaching Award
Academic Senate Award for Contribution to a Fair and Open University Environment (Diversity)
Women’s Studies Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching
Women’s Studies Program, Award of Excellence, 1997
Women’s Studies Program, Award of Excellence, 1998
Yosano Akiko Award for Courage and Heroism, Campus and Community Women, California State University, Long Beach (twice awarded)
Vesta Award for Scholarship in the Arts


National Science Foundation; Wenner-Gren Foundation; Visiting Fellow, University of California, Humanities Research Institute (Irvine). “Gender and Citizenship in Muslim Countries; “National Endowment for the Humanities; American Association of University Women; Office of Education, Department of Health, Education and Welfare; American Research Center in Egypt; Fulbright-Hays

Graduate Students

Ph.D. Students in Anthropology and Women’s Studies, Chair: Elaine Gerber, Kesha Fikes, Judith Stevenson, Jennifer Esperanza, Worku Nida, Camila Pastor y Campos, Bayard Lyons, Azza Basarudin, Khanum Shaikh, Sharmila Lodhia, Sabah Uddin, Helina (Tina)Beyene, Rana Sharif, Naazneen Diwan, Naveen Minai, Dalal Alfares, Amy Malek, Muriel Vernon

M.A. Chair: Brent Luvaas (Anthropology), Brian Zentmyer (Anthropology), Gina Singh (Asian American Studies), John Kilgore (African American Studies), Rahel Sahle Woldegaber (African Studies), Susan Serjak (African Studies), Heather Barahmand (Women’s Studies)