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Gender and Sexuality in Modern Middle Eastern Cultures



The Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (Culture, History)
St. George
Haytham Bahoora

This course examines questions of gender and sexuality in the broader Middle East (Iran, Turkey, and the Arab world) from the colonial period (19th to early 20th centuries) to the present through readings of religious, cultural, historical, visual, and literary texts. We will begin the course by thinking critically about colonial and Orientalist legacies that continue to structure contemporary debates on representations of women, gender, and sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. Students will read and analyze a range of primary historical texts written by Middle Eastern women reflecting the ways in which women of different backgrounds (religious, class, urban/rural) and generations have conceptualized and inhabited their gendered and sexual identities. Topics students will explore include the development of modern secular and religious feminist thought; cultural representations of gender, sexuality, and queerness; fictional texts that represent non-normative expressions of gender and sexuality; and critical approaches to theorizing gender and sexuality in the Middle East. All readings are in English translation.