HISTORY 429 - Gender and Sexuality in Pre-Modern Islam
Winter 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Students should preferably have had one course in Islamic Studies.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/5/22 - 4/19/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course explores Muslim constructions of gender and sexuality in the pre-modern era (600-1700 CE). It integrates issues of sexuality and gender, bringing to bear on each other the ways in which masculinity and femininity were intimately constructed within the project of Islam.

  • How do gender and sexuality constitute useful categories to interpret cultures?
  • How have scholars of the Islamic world studied women and gender?

Through a survey of sacred texts (Quran & Hadith) that came to define the female and the male sex in early and medieval Islam we shall investigate the (re) casting of female icons (Eve, Zulaykha, ‘A’isha) through time. We will trace the systems of representation developed by Muslim men to express femininity and masculinity in medieval Islamicate literary texts (poetry, stories, advice literature, satire, political, and medical treatises).

  • How do gendered symbols get translated from the domains of the sacred to those of literature, politics and law?
  • How is the body engendered through Islam?
  • How are sexuality, love, and desire distinguished in these texts?
  • What do these reveal about power, social hierarchies and their related mentalities?
  • What social institutions and regulatory technologies are created to maintain such representations?

Throughout the course we will read theoretical works on gender, sexuality, and the body, which have transformed the disciplines of history, literature and anthropology in recent decades. These studies will inform our discussions in class about the construction of historical narratives, the materiality of experience and social processes in the Islamic world.

Finally, we will end with the social and cultural transformations in nineteenth and twentieth century Iran to explore the ways in which modernity and colonialism affected Muslim gendered attitudes and sexual economies.

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly


HISTORY 429 - Gender and Sexuality in Pre-Modern Islam
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
1/5/22 - 4/19/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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