Women's Museum, Dubai Dr. Rafia Ghubash, Spring & Fall 2017 / by May Al-Dabbagh


How is the story of the UAE told and by whom? Our Spring and Fall Semester classes traveled to Dubai to explore the history of the UAE through the stories of Emirati women at the Women’s Museum.

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Students were led on an intimate tour of the exhibitions and learned about the museum’s founder, Dr. Rafia Ghubash, and her vision to create a space in the UAE that showcased the “intellectual role women play in education, economics and politics”.

The immersive learning opportunity allowed students to better understand the ways in which women’s contributions are both shaped and obscured by state discourses. Moving through the museum’s several floors and rooms, students witnessed multiple framings of women in the UAE, from participants in state-building to social actors on a smaller scale - emphasizing women’s roles and actions within and outside typical federal leader-focused narratives. The museum highlights generations of socially and politically prominent Emirati women, presenting detailed documentation and timelines of women’s organizing, leadership, and women-centered legislation and policy. Additionally, more subtly, the museum hints at the place of women often elided from collective memory.