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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

New Faculty Colloquium - Negotiating Queerness in Post-Civil-War Beirut

Wed, October 28, 2009 • 4:45 PM • GAR 2.112

Dr. Sofian Merabet

The lecture is based on ethnographic fieldwork and pays close attention to the ways in which some Lebanese men negotiate queerness through a variety of bodily performances within the urban context. It traces the genealogy of contemporary constructions of norms and forms of social exclusion and urban environment in the Lebanese capital by approaching the formations of socially marginalized gender identities as a crucial locus for reconsidering conventional understandings of culture, Islam, and the state in the Arab world.
Based on previous work on sexuality and religion, the lecture examines further the formations of Lebanese queer identities in relation to global processes of circulation and translation of gender models and ideas. This interdisciplinary research positions the importance of gender identities at the center of an often over-simplified political understanding of the very notion of identity in Lebanon that, traditionally, has been defined on the basis of sectarian and religious affiliation. As a counter point, this research provides a critical standpoint from which to deepen our understandings of gender rights and citizenship in the structuring of social inequality within the larger urban context of the Middle East.

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