SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Sabiha Allouche

MA (SOAS), MA (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain) PhD (SOAS)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Sabiha Allouche
Department of Politics and International Studies

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Centre for Gender Studies

Senior Teaching Fellow

Dr Sabiha Allouche
Email address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Office Hours:
Mondays 3pm - 5pm
Thesis title:
Beyond Religion and the Law: Marriage, Love, and Desire in the Time of Sectarianism (an empirical examination of everyday practices of love in contemporary Lebanon)
Year of Study:


I am in my 4th PhD year and am currently awaiting my viva. I am also convening two postgraduate courses at the Centre for Gender Studies. My thesis examines the ‘political economy of love’, defined as the ‘framework that links macro level political-economic transformations’ with subjective experiences of love, sexuality, and intimacy (Padilla et al, 2007) in the context of Lebanon. My thesis seeks to remedy some of the misconceptions that contribute to widespread stereotypes related to sex and sexuality in the Middle East. During nine months (and further additional periods) of fieldwork, I interviewed dozens of non-married men and women who shared their their views on sex, love, and marriage. Migration, social mobility, religion, and class all intersect in the making and dissolution of ‘impossible love stories’, and practices of 'coupling', and 'uncoupling'.

PhD Research

PhD Abstract
A Deleuzien-inspired (from philosopher Gilles Deleuze) approach to love posits it as an ‘assemblage’ that operates along a normalizing ‘territorializing’ axis, and a ‘deterritorializing’ one that tends towards ‘excess’ and ‘breaking away’. Marriage territorializes love. Love is a highly gendered discourse in Lebanon that is both taught and learned from an early age: it is regulated along normative intra-sectarian and heterosexual lines, in addition to confining women’s sexuality to the boundaries of marriage. Conversely, the discourse of love produces a hierarchy of desirability where the intersection of sect, gender, nationality, and class ranks bodies unequally. The construction of love as a potential of excess and irrationality in Lebanon is necessary for the construction of love-marriage as its ideal form. Secondly, and considering the deterritorialzing potentiality of inter-sectarian love, this thesis conceives love as a rather queer affect in Lebanon, despite the heterosexual context in which it occurs. Thirdly, and seeing the ambivalence of both the notion of love, and love practices, this thesis conceives agency in holistic terms. This thesis bases its findings on a nine months long fieldwork conducted in urban Lebanon between January and September 2014 (in addition to additional shorter periods during November 2014, March 2015, and July 2015).


  • (Dis)-Intersecting Intersectionality in the Time of Queer Syrian Refugee-ness in Lebanon
    Kohl: a Journal of Body and Gender Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, Summer 2017
  • Western Media as ‘Technology of Affect’: The Affective Making of the Angry Arab Man
    Graduate Journal of Social Science, Vol. 11, Issue 1, February 2015
  • Are Sexual Dissidence and Gender Activism Necessarily Linked? Notes from the Field on the Body, Beirut, Civil Society Knowledge Center, Lebanon Support, January 2015.


  • ‘(Dis)-Intersecting Intersectionality in the Time of Queer Refugee-ness’
    Conflicted Bodies: Feminist and Queer Responses to Militarism and Violence, Goldsmiths, University of London (September 30)
  • ‘Towards a Queer Ethics: Kin, Family, and Futurity’
    Cultures of Difference: the Everyday Makings of Heteronormativity Workshop, University of Cambridge (June 10-11)
  • ‘Desiring the Nation: Love, Masculinity, and the Power of Make-Believe’
    Arab Masculinities: Anthropological Reconceptions, Wenner-Gren Workshop, University of Oxford (March 22-24)
  • ‘From 'Becoming Parents' to 'Becoming Life Partners': on Men, Marriage, and Accidental Feminism in Contemporary Lebanon’
    European Association for Social Anthropologists (July 21-23)
  • ‘Re: No Longer Caught Between Two World: Towards a Decolonized Feminist Research in the Middle East’
    International Feminist Journal of Politics Conference, University of Cincinnati (May 19-20)
  • ‘The Limits of Happiness: on ‘Affective Neo-colonialism’, Gender, and the Middle East’
    Political Association Studies 66th Annual International Conference (March 12-23)
  • ‘Beyond Conflict: on Sexual Violence against Men and the Continuum of Violence in a Lebanese Context, and ‘Queer, Foreign, and Refugee: the Triple Challenge of Syrian Queer Refugees in Lebanon’
    57th Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association (March 16-19)
  • ‘Orientalism and Academia: Towards a Decolonized Feminist Research in the Middle East’
    2nd Annual Conference Academia and Social Justice, American University of Beirut (March 11-13)
  • ‘No Longer Caught Between Two World: Towards a Decolonized Feminist Research in the Middle East’
    British Society for Middle Eastern Research Annual Conference (June 2-26)
  • ‘Migrant Domestic Workers and the Lebanese Household, or How Neoliberalism Killed Feminism’
    9th European Feminist Research Conference (June 3-6)
  • ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: On Sexual Dissidence and the ‘non-movement movement’ in Lebanon’
    Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities Graduate Conference (May 15-16)


  • Member of Centre for Gender Studies
  • Department of Anthropology and Sociology
  • Member of the International Studies Association (Feminist Theory and Gender Studies section, Woman Caucus, LGBT Caucus)
  • European Association of Social Anthropologists



  • Affect theory
  • Queer theory
  • Anthropology
  • Feminist theory
  • Gender studies,
  • Comparative politics
  • IR


The source of publications is currently unavailable or does not comply with formatting requirements.