[P4938] Gendering the Body in the Middle East

Created by Angie Abdelmonem
Monday, 11/20/17 3:30pm


Gendered bodies in the Middle East and North Africa are never produced entirely through local practices alone, as the interests of global forces, whether colonialist, imperialist, global capitalist or human rights organizations, play out at the level of the body. Such forces act on and through these bodies, rendering them as both object and subject in the emergence of new notions of self, citizen, community and nation. The body simultaneously becomes the point of intersection as well as the agent in the production of global and local discourses of power. Yet, few studies have theoretically problematized the agentive facets of the gendered body in Muslim majority countries in the Middle East and the Arab and North African regions. Nor have they illuminated the shifting contours of gendered power visible in bodily praxis. Rather, scholarship on gendered bodies in the Middle East and North Africa have tended to focus on women's dress and veiling practices and seemingly oppressive sexuality norms and rituals (often in relation to Islam), including female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and assisted reproductive technologies. Few, if any, studies have considered the body outside heteronormativity or within contexts of protest, violence, or the wider sociopolitical structures of power that discursively shape the corporeal form.

This panel examines new approaches for studying gendered corporeality in the Middle East and North Africa and looks at the relationship between concepts of sovereignty, neoliberalism, human rights and the emerging forms of gendered identities, religion, violence and dissent in the region. The questions this panel address include the practices and processes through which the body in the Middle East and North Africa is constituted, experienced, regulated and represented; How bodies intervene within these spaces of regulation; and, how can we outline the contours of the study of corporeality in the region?


Association for Middle East Anthropology (AMEA) and Association for Middle East Women's Studies (AMEWS)


Anthro; Pol Science; Socio




Sherine Hamdy

(University of California Irvine)
Sherine Hamdy began as Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California Irvine in the Fall 2017. Before that, she was at Brown University, where she worked and taught since 2006. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from New York University...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Sherine M. Hafez

(University of California, Riverside)
Sherine Hafez is Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of, The Terms of Empowerment: Islamic Women Activists in Egypt, (American University Press, 2003) and An Islam of Her Own:...
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant; Organizer;

Angie Abdelmonem

(Arizona State University)
Angie Abdelmonem is a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality-based violence within Egypt, with a specific emphasis on the work of civil society groups and NGOs to combat public sexual violence....
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Murat C. Yildiz

(Skidmore College)
Murat C. Yildiz is Assistant professor of History at Skidmore College. He specializes in the cultural and social history of the modern Middle East. His research examines the intersections of subject formation, imperial and communal identity, the body,...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Maria Malmström

(The Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University)
Maria Frederika Malmström is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where she, in January 2017, started a collaborative research project The Materiality of Suspicion and the Ambiguity of the Familiar: Nigerian and Egyptian Cityscapes...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Marta Agosti

(SOAS University of London)
Marta Agosti is finishing her PhD in Social Anthropology at SOAS University of London. As former development practitioner, she has been working in the Arab Region since 2005 for NGO's, United Nations (UNFPA) and bilateral donors. She holds a master in...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;