Associate Professor
Phone number
Room number
8.65.05 NB

PhD    Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, France
MA      Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands
DEA    Université de Provence, Aix en Provence, France
MA      Université de Provence, Aix en Provence, France
BA       Université de Provence, Aix en Provence, France


Raised in Algiers, Algeria, Anissa Hélie holds two M.A.s, from France and the Netherlands, and obtained her doctorate from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris (E.H.E.S.S), with a research focusing on the history of female educational staff in Algeria during French colonization (1874-1949). 

Before joining the faculty at John Jay in 2008, Hélie held both research and teaching positions at Amherst College (M.A.), Mount Holyoke College and other surrounding colleges from 2005 to 2008. Prior to that, Hélie focused primarily on human rights work, notably serving in various capacities in the International Network Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), including as the Executive Director of its International Coordination Office in London, U.K., from 2000 to 2005; as well as: Program Coordinator at the Center for Women's Global Leadership, Rutgers University (N.J., 1997-2000); legal researcher for the International Women's Human Rights Law Clinic (CUNY, New York, 1998-1999); Deputy Director for the Women's Research and Action Group, (Bombay, India, 1996).

Hélie speaks internationally on issues of Islam, gender and sexuality, religious fundamentalisms, and wars and conflicts. 

Hélie has served on the boards of various non-governmental organizations and journals, including: Women's Caucus for Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court (2002-2003), Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (2002-2012), Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights (2005-2012), and as a member of the Advisory Editorial Board of the Reproductive Health Matters journal(2005-2016). She currently serves on Women's Living Under Muslim Laws's Publications Committee.

Scholarly Work

Anissa Hélie's publications include: 

  • "Between 'becoming M'tourni' and 'going native': Gender and Settler Society in Algeria" (1995),
  • "Marriage and the Politics of Social Change in India's Muslim Communities" (1996),
  • "Holy Hatred: Penalties for Homosexuality in Muslim Countries and Communities" (2000), 
  • Feminism in the Muslim World Leadership Institutes (2000),
  • ""Muslim Women" and Feminist Strategies in Times of Religious Fundamentalisms" (2007), 
  • "The Politics of Abortion Policy in the Heterogeneous 'Muslim World'" (2012), 
  • "Risky Rights? Gender Equality and Sexual Diversity in Muslim Contexts" (2012), 
  • Sexualities, Culture and Society in Muslim Contexts (2013).


Her published collaborative work include: 

  • Threatened Existence: A Feminist Analysis of the Genocide in Gujarat (2003),
  • Documenting Women's Rights Violations by Non-State Actors (2006), 
  • Sexuality in Muslim Contexts: Restrictions and Resistance (ZED Press, 2012), 
  • two co-authored Law Review articles: 
    • ​"Multiculturalist Liberalism and Harms to Women: Looking through the Issue of the Veil" (2012), and
    • "Realities of Religio-Legalism: Religious Courts and Women's Rights in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States" (2013), both published as 'lead articles' in the UC Davis Journal of International Law & Policy.


Research Summary

Hélie continues to keep abreast of developments in her fields of expertise (see for example, in keeping with her long-standing interest in gender in the context of violent conflict and religious fundamentalisms, Hélie's recent book review of Lihi Ben Shitrit's "Righteous Transgressions: Women's Activism on the Israeli and Palestinian Religious Right", Journal of Church & State, Oxford Uni. Press, 2016).

In addition, inspired by her participation in the John Jay's Prison to College Pipeline program (P2CP, part of the Prisoner Reentry Institute:, Hélie is venturing into a new field and currently educating herself on issues related to the history of prisons, as well as prison and pedagogy in the US context.