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Summer 2007 Vol. V, No. 4

Inside the Gate

Reviews

Sexuality in the Arab World

(Saqi Books: 2006) edited by Samir Khalaf and John Gagnon
This collection of case studies, research papers, and articles tackling different aspects of sexuality in several Arab countries outlines the conflicting sexual codes of the Middle East as well as the changing paradigms in sexuality research since the 1960s. The twelve essays were first presented during a three-day conference at AUB in December 2003 that brought together thirty scholars from history, sociology, anthropology, social psychology, public health, literature, and cultural studies. The engaging contributions, all the product of new and solid research, address sensitive and timely issues such as sexuality, gender and class in Beirut as a colonial city, sexuality and honor among Lebanese emigrants, the sexual victimization of Asian domestic workers, female chastity as social capital in Damascus, beauty and body image in Tunisia, gay space in Beirut, and eroticism in contemporary Arab poetry and literature. Professor Roseanne Khalaf of the English Department contributed a chapter on the views of a sample of AUB students on sexuality, eroticism, and love.

The book includes two introductory essays by the editors. Professor Samir Khalaf contextualizes the issues and problems Arabs face today as they struggle to forge meaningful sexual identities. Professor John Gagnon, from the State University of New York in Stony Brook explores how approaches to the study of sexuality are informed by the state, colonization, decolonization, and globalism.