Liv Tønnessen

Senior Researcher, CMI

Liv Tønnessen has a PhD in political science from the University of Bergen. Her research focuses on the intersection between Islam, politics and gender. She has a track record from the Middle East and Northern Africa with long term stays in Sudan, Lebanon and Syria. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Sudan during the last ten years, including teaching at Ahfad University for Women. Tønnessen has published international peer reviewed articles with publishers like Duke University Press, Routledge, Brill, Oxford University Press, and Taylor Francis on topics such as Islamic law reform, women’s movements including women’s participation in Islamist and Salafist movements, women’s representation, resolution 1325, and violence against women. She is currently researching efforts to reform the Criminal Law in Sudan, particularly the articles on rape which is defined as adultery (zina) without consent.

Tønnessen is a board member of the Nordic Society for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. She is also in the steering committee for the Center on Law and Social Transformation, which is a joint initiative by CMI and the University of Bergen, Department of Comparative Politics.


Current Projects:

ARUSS: Assisting regional universities in Sudan and South Sudan

Women’s Human Rights and Law Reform in the Muslim World

Engineering gender equality: The effects of aid to women’s political representation

Protection of Civilians: From Principle to Practice

Selected publications

Tønnessen, Liv (2015) Women’s Right to Abortion after Rape in SudanCMI Insight, April 2015,  No 02.

Tønnessen, Liv (2014) Complex realities and astute actors: Sudanese women’s activism and UN Security Council Resolution 1325, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF) – Expert Analysis.

Tønnessen, Liv (2014) ‘When Rape Becomes Politics: Negotiating Islamic Law Reform in Sudan‘, Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 44 pp. 145-153.

Muriaas, Ragnhild L.; Tønnessen, Liv & Wang, Vibeke (2013) ‘Exploring the relationship between democratization and quota policies in Africa’, Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 41 pp. 89-93.

Tønnessen, Liv & al-Nagar, Samia (2013) ‘The Women’s Quota in Conflict Ridden Sudan: Ideological Battles for and against Gender Equality‘, Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. Volume 41 no. Part 2 pp. 122-131.

Tønnessen, Liv (2013) “Between Sharia and CEDAW in Sudan: Islamist women negotiating gender equity” in Rachel Sieder and John McNeish Gender Justice and Legal Pluralities: Latin American and African Perspectives. New York: Routledge-Cavendish, 2013

Tønnessen, Liv (2012) ‘From impunity to prosecution? Sexual violence in Sudan beyond Darfur‘, Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF) Report, February 2012.

Tønnesen, Liv (2011) ‘Beyond numbers? Women’s 25% parliamentary quota in post-conflict Sudan‘, Journal of Peace, Conflict and Development vol. 17, pp. 43-62.

Tønnessen, Liv (2011) ‘Feminist interlegalities and gender justice in Sudan: The debate on CEDAW and Islam‘, Religion and Human Rights: An International Journal, vol. 6 no. 1, pp. 25-39.

Tønnessen, Liv (2010) ‘Is Islam a threshold for escape or an insurmountable barrier? Women bargaining with patriarchy in post-Islamist Sudan‘, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 30 no. 3. pp.583-594.

Tønnessen, Liv (2009) ‘Democratizing Islam and Islamizing democracy: An inquiry into Hasan al-Turabi’s conception of Shura in light of Western democratic theory‘, Nordic Journal of Human Rights, vol.27 no.3 pp. 313-329.

Tønnessen, Liv (2008) ‘Gendered Citizenship in Sudan: Competing Debates on Family Laws among Northern and Southern Elites in Khartoum‘, Journal of North African Studies, vol. 13 no. 4 pp. 455-469.

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