Gendering Sex in Pre-Modern Muslim Discourses
This presentation explores the historical discourses over same-sex sexual practices as a means of understanding the formation of Muslim discourses in the broader framework of ideas about the body, gender, morality, science and religion that circulated throughout and beyond Late Antiquity.
Professor Sara Omar analyzes the various means by which discussions of gendering sex shaped ideas of normativity. Her project underscores insights that can be gained from studying sex as a means of understanding the legal, ethical, and social genealogies that have authorized various practices and beliefs as authentically Islamic while also disqualifying and silencing others. She contends that juristic constructions of difference were primarily rooted in their valuation of an individual’s legal capacity and status, which they determined based on a number of varying factors including age, mental and physical capacity, sex, and freedom. This framework ultimately served to govern bodies and order society along with a deeply gendered and highly stratified socio-legal system of differentiation.
Presenter: Sara Omar, Assistant Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies
Respondent: Judith Tucker, Professor of History