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Moroccan Francophone Literature, Sexualities and Islam

Thursday, April 13, 2023 at 4:30pm

Olin Library, 106G
Olin Library, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Talk by Taieb Berrada

This talk will deal with the way Moroccan literature written in French creates a political space challenging the patriarchal establishment by reinterpreting foundational myths in Islam. We will discuss two political and symbolic forces at work in this type of literature: expressing one’s self in the language of the French colonial Other and narrating marginal sexual relationships in Morocco under the harsh dictatorship of Hassan II. It is the interplay of these two aspects that leads to the creation of a new narrative about sexual identities. By doing so, it reveals the instability of a model of identification subjected to a normalizing sexual apparatus controlling bodies and minds in a society where for example homosexual acts are still punishable by law. I will argue that writings by authors such as Abdellah Taïa, Nedjma and others create revised sexual identities, which become emancipated from the Western Oedipal complex while at the same time looking for alternative interpretations of Islamic traditions. Hence, those sexual identities call for a reevaluation of the normativity imposed by the king who is using his power based on a patriarchal interpretation of religious legitimacy in view of political gain.

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Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Comparative Muslim Societies Program, Institute for European Studies



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Gloria Lemus-Chavez

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