Hind Ahmed Zak is a PhD Graduate in the Department of political science at the University of Washington. She holds an MA degree in Political Science from the University of Washington and a B.A in Political Science from Cairo University. She is a Comparative Law and Social Studies (CLASS) fellow and a graduate student instructor who teaches course on Middle East Politics and Governance, Gender and Public Law. In her dissertation, Hind aims to develop a clearer understanding of the phenomenon of sexual violence and its manifestations in both societies, and to highlight the central turning points in the creation of what could be termed as a “culture of sexual violence” at the intersection of the state and society. She traces the rise of such culture through analyzing the relationship between the public and private realms in both states, and the emergence of what could be termed as “the domestication of the public sphere. Furthermore, she analyses how sexual violence became politicized in the wake of Arab spring, last four years in both states, and how it played out in formal and informal political processes including the Truth and dignity committee in Tunisia, and the mass sexual assaults in Tahrir Square. Results from the fieldwork suggest the existence of a strong link between institutional state-sanctioned forms of violence against women, and societal forms of violence, further emphasizing the importance of public and private overlaps to our understanding of what constitutes state violence.
In order to better understand the local dynamics of public forms of gender violence and the mobilization efforts against it in both countries, Hind conducted an 18-month political ethnography of gender-based violence in Egypt and Tunisia. Her field work was funded by a number of grants and fellowships including the Chester A. Fritz and Boeing Fellowships for International Research and Study, the Peter J May Fellowship in Political Science, the project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) TRE grant, the Arab Reform Initiative’s Research Support Program (ARSP), and the Ottenberg-Winans Fund for African Studies. In addition to her academic work, Hind had served as consultant to a number of local women’s rights organizations in Egypt. She was recognized as a "Women of Courage" by the UW Women's Center for her advocacy of human rights and gender justice.
Hind is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School's Belfer Center for the academic year 2017/2018.