Islamicate Sexualities: Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire

Publication Year



Islamicate Sexualities: Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire explores different genealogies of sexuality and questions some of the theoretical emphases and epistemic assumptions affecting current histories of sexuality. Concerned with the dynamic interplay between cultural constructions of gender and sexuality, the anthology moves across disciplinary fields, integrating literary criticism with social and cultural history, and establishes a dialogue between historians (Kathryn Babayan, Frédéric Lagrange, Afsaneh Najmabadi, and Everett Rowson), comparative literary scholars (Sahar Amer and Leyla Rouhi), and critical theorists of sexualities (Valerie Traub, Brad Epps, and Dina al-Kassim). As a whole, the anthology challenges Middle Eastern Studies with questions that have arisen in recent studies of sexualities, bringing into conversation Euro-American scholarship of sexuality with that of scholars engaged in studies of sexualities across a vast cultural (Iberian, Arabic, and Iranian) and temporal field (from the tenth century to the medieval and the modern).

This anthology emerges from a seminar sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in May 2003


Preface [Kathryn Babayan and Afsaneh Najmabadi]

The Past Is a Foreign Country? The Times and Spaces of Islamicate Sexuality Studies [Valerie Traub]

A Handsome Boy among Those Barbarous Turks: Cervantes’s Muslims and the Art and Science of Desire [Leyla Rouhi]

Cross-Dressing and Female Same-Sex Marriage in Medieval French and Arabic Literatures [Sahar Amer]

Comparison, Competition, and Cross-Dressing: Cross-Cultural Analysis in a Contested World [Brad Epps]

The Obscenity of the Vizier [Frederic Lagrange]

Homoerotic Liaisons among the Mamluk Elite in Late Medieval Egypt and Syria [Everett K. Rowson]

“In Sprit We Are Each Other’s Sorrow”: Female Companionship in Seventeenth-Century Safavi Iran [Kathryn Babayan]

Types, Acts, or What? Regulation of Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century Iran [Afsaneh Najmabadi]

Epilogue: Sexual Epistemologies, East in West [Dina Al-Kassim]


About the Authors


Series Title
Harvard Middle Eastern monographs
Center for Middle Eastern Studies of Harvard University : Distributed by Harvard University Press
Cambridge, MA