Family, Gender, and Sexuality in the Middle East

History 100M

Spring 2018
229 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MWF 12-1
Class Number: 

This course aims to provide a nuanced historical understanding of the history of family, gender, and sexuality in the Middle East (here defined as the Arab world, Turkey, and Iran), from the pre-Islamic period to the present day. The course begins with the origins of Islamic norms of gender and family in the late-antique Arabian Peninsula, setting the stage for later challenges and interpretations. We will then move chronologically and thematically to consider such topics as the role of households in the growth of pre-modern states, western representations of the “oriental woman,” and the politicization of sexual identities in the modern age. Throughout the course, we will put legal and social norms in conversation with the complex fluidity of men and women’s lived experiences. In examining the role of women in society and politics, shifting attitudes towards pleasure and same-sex relations, and the powerful variety of family and kinship structures underpinning everything from war and sovereignty to social and economic reproduction, the course seeks to add texture and nuance to the study of a region generally associated with conflict and repression.