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Flashcards in Love and Sexuality Deck (38):


was a Syrian diplomat, poet and publisher. His poetic style combines simplicity and elegance in exploring themes of love, eroticism, feminism, religion, and Arab nationalism. Qabbani is one of the most revered contemporary poets in the Arab world.[1][2]


qabbani influence

When Qabbani was 15, his sister, who was 25 at the time, committed suicide because she refused to marry a man she did not love.[5] During her funeral he decided to fight the social conditions he saw as causing her death. When asked whether he was a revolutionary, the poet answered: “Love in the Arab world is like a prisoner, and I want to set (it) free. I want to free the Arab soul, sense and body with my poetry. The relationships between men and women in our society are not healthy.” He is known as one of the most feminist and progressive intellectuals of his time


Qabbani influence arab world

The 1967 Arab defeat also influenced his poetry and his lament for the Arab cause.[5][6] The defeat marked a qualitative shift in Qabbani's work – from erotic love poems to poems with overt political themes of rejectionism and resistance.[5]


Quote Qabbani on forced marriage

· He fought the social conditions that caused this loss of life.
‘Love in the Arab world is like a prisoner, and I want to set (it) free. I want to free the Arab soul, sense and body with my poetry. The relationships between men and women in our society are not healthy.



never view any society as fixed in time
Regional difference
Urban v rural


change over time

Gender divisions
Islamic turn
Creation of homosexuality


Patriarchal society

not unique to the middle east.
Idea of patriarchy is women being separated in society
Is this religion or culture?



Look at idea of hijab
First addressed in verse 33 of qur’an. Muhammad married zainab.
Sense of privacy arose as people in and out of houses?
Muhammed erecting a curtain between public areas meeting for political gatherings and the family.
Itijihad re-interpretation. A lot of disagreement.



Strongly condemned in the Qur’an.
Qur’an condemned the immorality of lut for homosexual acts
This is drawing from Judaism Christian scripture.
Christian has much more explicitly anti homosexual. Does that mean all are?



He was bestowed as a prophet to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.[4] His story is used to demonstrate Islam's disapproval of rape and homosexuality.[5] He was commanded by God to go to the land of Sodom and Gomorrah to preach to his people on monotheism and to stop them from their lustful and violent acts.[3] According to both the Quran and the Hebrew Bible, Lot's messages were ignored by the inhabitants and Sodom and Gomorrah were subsequently destroyed. They cannot be exactly located, but it may be supposed that they were somewhere in the plain east of the Dead Sea.

Lot's people are the people to whom he is sent on a mission. He was not one of their own brethren, as was Salih or Shu'aib. But he looked upon his people as his "brethren".[6] The Quran says that Lot is a prophet, and holds that all prophets were examples of moral and spiritual rectitude, so the report of Lot's drunkenness and incest is considered to be false.[3] It was his nation indulged in homosexuality and was destroyed later after several severe warnings by Lot.


Cairo in 1920 - veil

women being veiled is a sign of your urban sophistication and your modernity. Contrast with rural areas muslim communities women wouldn’t be generally veiled – practicality, working outside etc. So by 1920’s sign of wealth and modernity if as a man you are keeping wife indoors and if you let her out it is covered up.


Regional difference - veil and homsexuality

Lebanon more free of veil – seems to be liberal when thinking of Lebanon – homesexuality illegal etc.. think of caramel with the difference in liberalism (thriving semi underground gay scene beirut) around half of all Lebanese population is Christian.
Saudi Arabia forced – (Saudi arabia it is easy for gay men to hang out together in public but because sexes are segregated so much – nothing unusual about men hanging out together. Men are able to hold hands as a cultural thing across middle east)


When do you see the change of gender relations beginning to take place?

Marriage no longer perceived as a purely pragmatic transactions but also about being in love.


Saudi Arabia

I think it is possible to argue as never colonised and little social influence from the west, the gender relations have remained far more strict and segregated. Saudi is base d on Wahhabism (Wahhabism is named after an eighteenth-century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).[16] He started a revivalist movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd,[17] advocating a purging of practices such as the popular "cult of saints", and shrine and tomb visitation, widespread among Muslims, but which he considered idolatry (shirk), impurities and innovations in Islam (Bid'ah).


Womens movements

Emergence of womens movement in the 1920s


Name of main women

Huda Sha'arawi - At the age of thirteen, she was married to her cousin Ali Pasha Sha`arawi.[2] According to Margaret Badran, a "subsequent separation from her husband gave her time for an extended formal education, as well as an unexpected taste of independence."[3] She was taught to read the Qur'an and received tutoring in Arabic, and Turkish, and Islamic subjects by female Muslim teachers in Cairo. Sha`arawi wrote poetry in both Arabic and French. Shaarawi later recounted her early life in her memoir Harem Years: The Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist, 1879-1924


Feminism and Sha'arawi

After World War I, many women took part in political actions against the British rule. In 1919, Sha`arawi helped organize the largest women's anti-British demonstration. In defiance of British orders to disperse, the women remained still for three hours in the hot sun.

Sha`arawi made a decision to stop wearing her veil in public after her husband's death in 1922. Her decision to unveil was part of a greater movement of women.

In 1923, Sha`arawi founded and became the first president of the Egyptian Feminist Union, after returning from the International Woman Suffrage Alliance Congress in Rome she removed her face veil in public for the first time, a signal event in the history of Egyptian feminism.

he helped lead the first women's street demonstration during the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, and was elected president of the Wafdist Women's Central Committee.


public unveilings

Public unveilings huda sharawi at train station and copycat incidences taking place - Beirut 1926


women and the colonial movement

Women coming in the sphere as a context of anti-colonial movement
Desire for women to take part in the national struggle.
Women coming into the sphere of public life doing it in terms of nationalism rather than intrinsic value of womens lives


Leila Khaled

is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and an airline hijacker who was later released in a prisoner exchange for civilian hostages kidnapped by her fellow PFLP members.[1][2] The PFLP is described as a terrorist organization by the United States,[3] Canada,[4] and the European Union.[5]

Khaled came to public attention for her role in a 1969 hijacking and one of four simultaneous hijackings the following year as part of Black September


Tarab Abdul Hadi

Tarab Abdul Hadi (also transliterated Tarab 'Abd al-Hadi) (1910 Jenin[1] –1976 Cairo) was a Palestinian Muslim activist and feminist.[2][3] In the late 1920s, she co-founded the Palestine Arab Women's Congress (PAWC), the first women's organization in British Mandate Palestine, and was an active organizer in its sister group, the Arab Women's Association (AWA)


Qabbani and sexuality

When he started as a poet in the 1950’s arab world on brink of new era of gender equality, Women in general playing more of a role in public sphere
Raised themes of sexuality and eroticism
Advocated social freedoms for women but above all a releasing of peoples natural healthy ways expressing themselves naturally


Education and saddam

education. Iraq regime was very secular. Hussein baddie of western media but did further womens rights. Raised numbers of girls in education.


Women and job opportunities

However when women come out, it is very restricted as career prospects very low right across arab world. Palestine 60 per cent of graduates are female but the vast proportion become housewives
Women becoming increasingly educated but unable to step into arab society on an equal footing.


islamic turn

 In the 70’s and 80’s a noticeable Islamic turn.
Clear sign that not just political sphere but social a focus where islam is morw and more becoming a prescence of that social debate and political debate.
An appearance of a stricter set of perceived Islamic codes
Across middle east wearing of hijab markedly increased


is the segregation just a muslim thing

Not just Islamic. Jewish and Christian. Israel is a very divided society. Zionism was a secular movement however this is under challenge by a growing ultra-orthodox movement. Jeruselum tody, seeing segregated buses – cannot just attribute this as a purely muslim phenomenon.


The creation of homosexuality

Isn’t unique to muslim societies.
Focault spoke about homosexuality being constructed
Strict sexual categories pre twentieth century, the separation between sexual divides was far more blurred. It is modern to put people into a category.
If we use terms like homosexuality when referring to these times we are being anachronisitic (An anachronism (from the Greek ἀνά ana, "against" and χρόνος khronos, "time") is a chronological inconsistency in some arrangement, especially a juxtaposition of person(s), events, objects, or customs from different periods of time.) using terms when they have no meaning and doesn’t apply.


sodomy and middle east

Sodomy (male on male penetration) is different type of phenomenon of falling in love with young boys or attracted. In this time and place the two were not connected.


HISTORIOGRAPHY - Brian Whittaker, Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East

Easy for gay men to hang out together but because the segregation so sever - nothing unusual about men hanging out together. holding hands which is common. not unusual or frowned upon, ways in which they dress can seem gay but not in SA. Shopping is the main lace for meant to hang out.


sodomy doing or receiving

If doing the act, sense of masculinity by asserting yourself – physical dominance. Other hand being sodomised and taking pleasure, that was considered peverse.
Not common that ypou are either gay or not is not an idea at the time.



Khaled Rouayheb talks of a false discourse of tolerance. As in you can’t look at society back then with our norms today. They weren’t liberal necessarily but it was seen differentlt.
Towards beginning of 20th century, sexual categories happening all across the world. Foacoult famous for writing it.


beating of gay men in lebanon

they protested it. THEY WERE ALLOWED TO SILENTLY SO HELD Placards.


What happens t books after colonial influence?

Textbooks emerging, nationalist project.. edited out this explicit sexual acts almost disappear.
Western writers deriding the middle east of their treatment and ideology toward homosexuality but it was their influences that separated out sexuality into categories.


20th century - liberal or not?

Is society becoming more liberal I the 2oth century - one hand yes, rise of concept of individual and breaking down of old structures
No adoption of stricter categories of sexual preference and moral codes and disciplining of nation



· Lacked concept of homosexuality before 20 c
· Englishman slave pitts – sin of sodomy far from being punished amongst themas common for men to fall in love with boys as it is for men to fall for women in englanf
· When juxtaposed with that of muslim travellers, they note it was odd for them to only fall for women
Foucaults contructionist claim (homosexuality was given a category whereas before it was felt to be normal part of life, they were now bracketed by the western world)


Historiography - Mountain against the sea -Salim Tamari

shift that ,marriage no longer pragmatic but notions of being in love.


Historiography Dror Ze’evi, Producing Desire: Changing Sexual Discourse in the Ottoman Middle East,

"Producing Desire is a major, highly original, and often surprising presentation of sexual attitudes and practices in the Ottoman Middle East. The author uses a wide variety of contemporary sources to shed new light and draw original conclusions regarding changing attitudes toward sexuality in the Ottoman Empire before and after western influences. These influences are shown to have inhibited forms of male sexual expression that had occurred more freely in an earlier period. I recommend it enthusiastically for students, faculty, and the general public." - Nikki R. Keddie, author of Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution "Using the concept of multiple scripts, Dror Ze'evi brings together into a powerfully analytical focus several sexual discourses to give us a historically grounded and nuanced story about Ottoman sexual thought and practices. No other work brings these 'scripts' together the way Ze'evi has attempted and successfully accomplished."


HISTORIOGRAPHY Producing Desire: Changing Sexual Discourse in the Ottoman Middle East, 1500-1900 (Studies on the History of Society and Culture) (Paperback)" by Dror Ze'evi

· Very difficult interpreting texts in terms of sexuality.
· Islam was a sexually enlightened religion however distortion over the years shows it as sexually depraved society
· Talks about the story of prophet lut and his city Sodom destroyed by god for sexual sins of its people
· Colonialism affected the way that sex was thought of as pornographic instead of divine – explains homosexuality stuff
· Arabic literature can lean towards stating that women are demonic and men have a fear of womens sexuality so turn to male companionship
· Bouhdiba, malti-douglas and wright and rowson agree that heterosexuality was a matter of necessity, love more conceived as homosocial or homoerotic and sexual sceme women marginalised
· Praise for beauty of young boys common