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Gendering Sex in Pre-Modern Muslim Discourses
This project situates Muslim debates over various sexual practices in a broader matrix of ideas about the body, gender, morality, science and religion that circulated throughout and beyond Late Antiquity. It reads early Islamic texts in and across various genres as discursive processes in which Muslims contributed to and were shaped by the texts and cultures around them. By analyzing the various means by which discussions of gendering sex shaped ideas of normativity, it traces the cumulative formations and contestations of normativity across the broad contours of Islamic intellectual and cultural history. As such, this 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.

The presentation contends that juristic constructions of difference were primarily rooted in their valuation of an individual’s legal capacity and status, 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 a deeply gendered and highly stratified socio-legal system of differentiation.

Nov 19, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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