College of Liberal Arts

Anthropologist Examines Pious Shi'i Youth in South Beirut

Monday Mar 1, 2010 2:00 PM | Texas Union, Quadrangle Room (3.304)

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"Piety and Pleasure: Youth Negotiations of Moral Authority in South Beirut" is a lecture by Laura Deeb, associate professor of anthropology, Scripps College.

Based on ongoing collaborative field research with Mona Harb (AUB), Professor Deeb explores how young Shi'i Muslims in the southern suburb of Beirut are reshaping moral norms as they seek out new spaces for and forms of social interaction. This talk argues that youth practices and discourses of morality are flexible in their deployments, especially when it comes to ideas about leisure and sexuality, and that this interpretive flexibility works to redefine ideas about sexuality and leisure within a framework of religiosity.

The lecture will address the question of the timing of these processes, highlighting the notion of generational change as a factor in the emergence of a vibrant leisure sector in the southern suburb. It will then explore how pious youth redefine ideas about appropriate behavior by drawing on a variety of multiple authorizing discourses, including their own interpretive authority. Two examples will be discussed: leisure practices in new cafes and restaurants and temporary marriage.

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