Theme 2

History and politics of gender & sexuality in the Middle East

In the last century gender relations and sexual practices have evolved dramatically in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), though marriage and family have remained fundamental institutions. This section looks at how shifting norms of gender/sexuality have contributed to political changes in both subtle and overt ways. Articles and books look at the legal and social status of women, the changing nature of the matrimonial bond from arranged marriages to modern cohabitation called White Marriages, non-monogamous heterosexual relations such as temporary marriage, polygamy, and slave concubines; and the gradual evolution of same-sex relations from status-defined homosexuality to a modern gay lifestyle.