Event – CGS Seminar Series – On the History of the History of Homosexuality: a Re-reading in the Lesbian Premodern
Dr Samar Habib: On the History of the History of Homosexuality: a Re-reading in the Lesbian Premodern
24 November 2015
7 PM, 4429, SOAS
In conversation with the theoretical paradigms that have dominated the study of premodern sexuality in the Western canon, this paper explores what medieval homoeroticism in Arabic letters illuminates on the subject more broadly. Dr. Habib revisits the literature on same-sex desire among women and asks if we can narrate the past alternatively to the Foucauldian model. Specifically, the paper explores whether identities were produced around sexual proclivities or whether they were suspended as behaviours; whether there was some brand or other of heteronormativity; and whether sexual practices rather than discourses are a viable means for exploring the Arabic premodern.
Dr Habib is an Associate Researcher at the Centre for Gender Studies. Her publications include Female Homosexuality in the Middle East (2007) and Arabo-Islamic Texts on Female Homosexuality (2008) and the edited anthology Islam and Homosexuality (2010). As an expert of international standing in gender and sexuality in the Arab world, her most recent contributions include encyclopaedic entries on LGBT activism in the Middle East and North Africa (Wiley Blackwell), Islam and Queer Sexualities (E.J. Brill) as well as Islam and Homosexuality (Oxford University Press). She is currently writing on queer Arab cinema, the fruits of which may be glimpsed informally at http://www.samarhabib.com/