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Between the Local and the Global: Cross-Bracing as a New Tool for Conceptualizing the Sexual in Lebanon

Research
Culture and languages
Society and economy

Sexuality studies in the field of Middle East area studies faces an irreconcilable tension today: how can scholars use a European modern category of analysis such as “sexuality”accompanied by Western-originating theories such as Queer Theory to conceptualize the region’s local erotic practices, without necessarily perpetuating Orientalist fantasies and imperial politics?

Seminar
Date
7 Dec 2020
Time
10:00 - 12:00
Location
zoom

Participants
Dr. Adriana Ahmad Qubaiova
Good to know
The seminar will be held on Zoom. For registration, please send an email to selin.cagatay@gu.se. Meeting ID and password for the seminar will be sent to those who register on the day of the seminar.
Organizer
Gender studies unit, Department of Cultural Sciences

As part of Gender Studies Seminar Series, we would like to warmly invite you to the online seminar by Dr. Adriana Ahmad Qubaiova.

Abstract

Sexuality studies in the field of Middle East area studies faces an irreconcilable tension today: how can scholars use a European modern category of analysis such as “sexuality” accompanied by Western-originating theories such as Queer Theory to conceptualize the region’s local erotic practices, without necessarily perpetuating Orientalist fantasies and imperial politics?

In this talk I examine non-normative sexuality in the Middle East as a study of an unequal interaction between the Local and the Global. I start by reviewing available theories of this interaction, moving from Globalization Studies to decolonial studies, and covering useful anthropological concepts such as Anna Tsing’s “friction” and “contamination”, as well as Tom Boellstorff’s “dubbing culture”.

After demonstrating the limits of these theories and concepts of interaction, I propose a new approach. In line with post-structuralism, I offer ‘cross-bracing’ as a theoretical structure that captures ‘the sexual’ as a set of unequal and cross-dependent interactions among dominant forces of the Local, Regional, and Global. Through rich ethnographic examples from my fieldwork in Beirut I demonstrate how cross-bracing offers a more accurate tool for theorizing non-normative sexual practices, politics, and lives in Lebanon.

Bio

Dr. Adriana Ahmad Qubaiova holds a PhD in Comparative Gender Studies. Placing herself between the fields of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Queer Ethnography, she has been building a new conceptual framework for the study of sexuality in Lebanon. She is currently working on a book project tentatively titled “Hedging Sexualities in Beirut”.

Adriana was a Global Teaching Fellow at Arizona State University in the Spring of 2020 and taught courses on Gender and Armed Conflict and Democratic Erosion in the US and Hungary. Her further research interests include: gender and war, NGOization, LGBT activism, Queer Migration, and Comparative Balkan Studies. She is currently developing a comparative project theorizing race and sexuality from the perspective of regional interaction between the Balkans and the Middle East.