This Thematic Conversation will assess the impact and changes in a significant and ongoing debate within women and gender studies and related disciplines. This debate concerns the insider vs. externalobserver in the study of and/or teaching on women and gender of the Middle East. Within anthropology it is
described as the emic vs. the etic approach to observation and understanding. Now that a broad and varied body of data and publications on the topics of women and gender of the Middle East has appeared in the last quarter of the twentieth century, it is fitting that transformations in the methodologies of research, academic di scourses about these topics, and pedagogical approaches should have occurred in various ways. The intent of the Conversation will be to assess the value of the emic/etic debate in different areas of this multidi sciplinary field and consider whether recent versions of this debate can further new directions for research (or new approaches to teaching on women/gender).