Gender in Islamic History (SSCI 150T)

Course Description: the rights, roles, and appearance of Muslim women have been the focus of intense debate both within Muslim societies and in our own. This course examines gender issues in Islamic societies from the seventh century to the present. Topics covered include gender and sexuality in Islamic law; Middle Eastern feminisms and their relationship to Islam; the politics of masculinity; veiling; and the impact of Orientalism and colonialism on contemporary understandings about gender and sexuality in the Middle East.

Course Syllabus (Fall 2016)

Paper Assignment: Islamic Law Paper

Selected Course Readings:

  1. Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New
    Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.
  2. Lila Abu Lughod, Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Cambridge, MA: Harvard
    University Press, 2013.
  3.  Judith Tucker, In the House of the Law: Gender and Islamic Law in Ottoman Syria and
    Palestine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.
  4. Fatima Mernissi, The Veil and the Male Elite.
  5. Leslie Peirce, The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire.
  6. Edward Said, Orientalism, selections.
  7. Joan Scott, The Politics of the Veil, selections.
  8. Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis: the Story of a Childhood. New York: Pantheon Books,
  9. Joan W. Scott, “Gender as a Category of Analysis,” American Historical Review 91, no. 5 (1986), 1053-1075.
  10. Maya Mikdashi, “How Not to Study Gender in the Middle East” on Jadaliyya
  11. Elyse Semerdjian, “Naked Anxiety: Bathhouses, Nudity, and the Dhimmi Woman in 18th Century Aleppo,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45 (2013), 651-76.
  12. Judith Tucker, “Decline of the Family Economy in Mid-Nineteenth Century Egypt,” Arab Studies Quarterly 1, no. 3 (1979), 245-271.
  13. Sarah Gualtieri, “Gendering the Chain Migration Thesis: Women and Syrian Transatlantic Migration, 1878-1924,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 24, no. 1 (2004), 67-78.
  14. Akram Fouad Khater, “’House’ to ‘Goddess of the House:’ Gender, Class, and Silk in 19th-Century Mount Lebanon,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 28,
    no. 3 (1996), 325-348.
  15. Me and the Mosque, film available at
  16. Janet Afary, Sexual Politics in Modern Iran, selections.
  17. Murat Yildiz, “What is a Beautiful Body? Late Ottoman ‘Sportsman’ Photographs and New Notions of Corporeal Beauty,” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 8 (2015), 192-204.
  18. Wilson Chacko Jacob, “Overcoming ‘Simply Being’: Straight Sex, Masculinity and Physical Culture in Modern Egypt,” Gender & History 22, no.3 (2010), 658–676.
  19. Jasbir Puar and Amit Rai, “Monster, Terrorist, Fag: the War on Terror and the Production of Docile Patriots,” Social Text 20, no. 3 (2002), 117-148.