Academic Appreciation Corner: M. Laetitia Cairoli

After almost two years of blogging it’s wonderful to introduce something new through the following gush over a research paper.

At the moment I’m reviewing From Patriarchy to Empowerment: Women’s Participation, Movements, and Rights in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (Syracuse, 2007), a collection of papers edited by Valentine M. Moghadam.image-by-rytc-via-flickr

Reaching the midway point, it’s been a compelling read thus far; however, M. Laetitia Cairoli’s paper sent me into anthropological raptures – the fieldwork, findings, methodology and insights are simply fascinating.

In general my weakness lies in the inability to gobble academic books with as much gusto as fiction; I can have three of the latter on the go and chew through 100 pages a day.

Give me an academic tome and it’ll take an afternoon to reach page fifteen.

On first sight ‘Girl but Not Woman: Garment Workers in the City of Fez, Morocco’ inspired trepidation, but it proved not only the most compelling of chapters, but possibly the best article I have read in years.

Perhaps it is her ardent dedication to participant observation: interviewing then fleeing to a five star hotel for cocktails was not for this researcher – she worked alongside her respondents for three months in a garment factory, enduring the poor conditions, physical agony, and long hours for meagre pay to gain a true insight.

Academia is rapidly becoming a site of broken dreams and harsh realizations; Cairoli serves as a reminder that there remain plucky and invaluable researchers still in our midst, inspiring research anew.

3 comments on “Academic Appreciation Corner: M. Laetitia Cairoli

  1. M. Laetitia Cairoli
    February 19, 2011

    Hello Layla,
    I just recently discovered your website (which is very well done) and found your comments on this article. I’d like to let you know that I have recently published a book on this research. The book is described on my website ( Its title: Girls of the Factory: A Year with the Garment Workers of Morocco (University Press of Florida).
    If you would be interested in reviewing the book, I can let my publisher know, and they would be happy to send you a copy.
    Best regards,
    Laetitia Cairoli

    • Layla
      February 19, 2011

      Hello Laetitia – thank you! I would be delighted and shall drop you an (official!) email now 🙂

  2. Mia
    April 9, 2011

    Hi Laetitia,
    I really liked “Girl but Not Woman”, i just wanted to ask you what steps did you go through in order to conduct this research? we were studying your piece in class and i would like to further educate myself on it.
    Thank you so much,

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2009 by in Middle East, note-to-self and tagged , , , , .
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