Jun 22, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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THRS 3430 - Gender and Sexuality in Islam

5 credit hours
This course introduces students to two related bodies of scholarship, namely the study of gender in Islam and the study of sexuality in Islam. While some scholars sharply distinguish between these two fields of study, this course will encourage students to view both gender and sexuality as related dimensions of human embodiment. The course will provide students the opportunity to understand how different disciplinary locations yield multiple perspectives on embodiment in Islam. For example, classical Muslim theologians posited the body as a vehicle for moral perfection. Modern progressive Muslims, on the other hand, consider the body as a vehicle for social change. Scholarship from other disciplines, such as anthropology and literary studies, helps us understand the social and rhetorical construction of the body in Muslim societies. Muslim bodies have also become sites of political contestation in today’s global culture. Many human rights activists, media pundits, and fervent critics claim that misogyny and homophobia are inherent features of Islam. Muslims themselves are divided on these issues; some condemn gender inequalities and sexual repression, while others naturalize gendered hierarchies and heteronormativity. In everyday life, these issues play out in complex ways, as many Muslims consider criticisms of Islamic teachings about gender and sexual behavior as intrusions of Western cultural hegemony. This course will draw on the rich interdisciplinary scholarship on gender and sexuality in Islam to discuss and examine historical, theological, and ethical questions about the body. The course will examine those social institutions in Muslim settings that either reinforce or challenge gender segregation and homosocial forms of intimacy. The course will study myriad local arrangements of the sex-gender system in Muslim contexts, and students will be able to appreciate the analytical purchase of multiple scholarly perspectives and methods, from strategic essentialism to social constructionism. WR



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