Near Eastern Languages and Cultures | Women and Gender in the Middle East
N304 | 15683 | Scalenghe


The media routinely portrays Middle Eastern women as oppressed,
citing Islam as the most significant source of such oppression. But
what exactly is meant by “Middle Eastern women” and by “Islam,” and
how and to what degree are women oppressed? This course is designed
to provide a nuanced understanding of the history of women and
gender in the Middle East, here defined as the Arab world, Turkey,
and Iran. We will explore gender in the Qur’an and Hadith, Islamic
law, the veil and the harem, sexuality (including the highly
contested topics of homosexuality), and women’s movements and
political participation. The course consists of lectures, audio-
visual presentations, and group discussions. Some knowledge of the
Middle East is preferable but not required.