Gender in the Middle East
- Module Code:
- FHEQ Level:
- Taught in:
- Term 1
The aim of this interdisciplinary module is to equip students with the critical skills needed to think about and discuss gender and sexuality in the Middle East in ways that avoid re-inscribing normative assumptions about the region. Importantly, this module does not provide an overview of gender and sexual dynamics and norms in the Middle East. Rather, it offers theoretical, methodological and analytical tools for making sense of gender and sexuality-based oppression in the region that encourage and enable a move away from a culturally essentialist framework. The course is organised thematically around particular theoretical interventions, an engagement with which is essential for those invested in challenging widespread assumptions about the conditions of possibility for discrimination, marginalisation, oppression and persecution on the basis of gender and sexuality in the region. Students will think critically about the binaries between tradition and modernity, religion and secularism, and will interrogate the relationship between gender/sexuality and the nation, gender/sexuality and the state, gender/sexuality and the law, gender/sexuality and empire, amongst other topics, relating them to the Middle East via an in-depth engagement with context-specific narratives and scholarship.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
• Gaining an overview of key debates within the study of gender and sexuality in the Middle East;
• Acquiring a grounding in the complexity and diversity of gender and sexual dynamics and norms in the Middle East via an engagement with historical, cultural and empirical studies on the region;
• Learning how to challenge generalisations, stereotypes and problematic assumptions about gender and sexual dynamics and norms in the Middle East;
• Acquiring a critical understanding of a range of methodologies and theoretical frameworks employed in the study of gender in the Middle East;
• Critically evaluating a variety of sources relevant to the topics studied on the course;
• Articulating core themes of the course in the form of detailed written work and oral presentations.
The module will be taught over 10 weeks with one 2 hour seminar per week
Scope and syllabus
• Unpacking the Western Gaze
• Gender, Modernity, Islam
• Nationalism and the Family
• Structures of Patriarchy
• Masculinity and Anxiety
• The Islamic Revival and Pious Womanhood
• Gender, Sexuality and Empire
• Intimacy and Kinship
• Queering Middle East Studies
• Negotiating Queerness
• Histories of Subversion
• Queer Feminism(s)
Method of assessment
Assignment one (3000 words); 70%
Assignment two – Oral presentation; 30%
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Abu-Lughod, L. (2013). Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Cambridge: Harvard University Press
Mikdashi, M. (2012). How not to study gender in the Middle East. Jadaliyya. Available at: https://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/25434/How-Not-to-Study-Gender-in-the-Middle-East
Abu-Lughod, L. (2001). Orientalism and Middle East feminist studies. Feminist Studies, 27, pp. 101-113
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Amar, P., & El Shakry, O. (2013). Introduction: Curiosities of Middle East Studies in Queer Times. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 45(2), 331-335
El Shakry, O. (2013). Rethinking Entrenched Binaries in Middle East Gender and Sexuality Studies. International Feminist Journal of Politics,15(1), 82-87.
Jarrod Hayes; De Groove Is in de Move: Decolonizing Sex and Sexuality in Middle East and North African Studies. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies , July 2018; 14 (2): 143–151.
Ikkaracan, Pinar. 2008. "Introduction: Sexuality as a Contested Political Domain in the Middle East." In Deconstructing Sexuality in the Middle East: Challenges and Discourses, pp. 1-16. Aldershot: Ashgate.
Ze'Evi, D. (2005). Hiding Sexuality: The Disappearance of Sexual Discourse in the Late Ottoman Middle East. Social Analysis, 49(2), 34-53
PEIRCE, L. (2009). Writing Histories of Sexuality in the Middle East. The American Historical Review, 114(5), 1325-1339.
Uhlmann, A. J. (2005). Introduction: reflections on the study of sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. Social Analysis, 49(2), 3-15
Amer, S. (2012). Naming to Empower: Lesbianism in the Arab Islamicate World Today. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 16(4), 381-397
Massad, J. (2002). Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World. Public Culture, 14(2), 361-386
Sinan Goknur; Queer Imaginaries: Tensions in Academic and Activist Frames. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 November 2015; 11 (3): 331–336.
Puar, Jasbir (2013). Rethinking Homonationalism. International Journal of Middle East Studies 45: 336–339