This course examines the key issues and emerging directions in research on gender and sexuality with a focus on the Middle East. Throughout the course, we will analyse how gender and sexuality have been regulated, experienced, and subverted in diverse Middle Eastern settings. In our analysis, we will employ an intersectional approach that conceptualises gender and sexuality as axes of power and as relational to systems of class, race/ethnicity, citizenship status and geopolitics. We will explore diverse and complex ways in which gender and sexuality shape and become (re-)shaped by socio-political institutions, structural forces and social hierarchies. Some of the themes that will assist addressing these questions include citizenship, belonging, im/mobility, precarity, family, diaspora, processes of migration and displacement, civil society and activism.
The course highlights research on gender and sexuality in the Middle East from the perspective of different disciplines and critical social theories. In addition, the course draws on research that studies the Middle East from a transnational perspective by focusing on connections between the global, regional and local contexts. In this way, the course aims to assist its participants in engaging critically with static, ahistorical, dualistic and normative configurations of the notions of "East-West", "culture", "religion", and "modernity/civilisation" that pervade representations of the region in much of mainstream scholarship, policymaking, activist, media and artistic work.