Sherry Sayed Gadelrab
Series: Library of Middle East History
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: I. B. Tauris (August 30, 2015)
In Middle Eastern and Islamic societies, the politics of sexual knowledge is a delicate and often controversial subject. Sherry Sayed Gadelrab focuses on nineteenth and early-twentieth century Egypt, claiming that during this period there was a perceptible shift in the medical discourse surrounding conceptualisations of sex differences and the construction of sexuality. Medical authorities began to promote theories that suggested men’s innate ‘active’ sexuality as opposed to women’s more ‘passive’ characteristics, interpreting the differences in female and male bodies to correspond to this hierarchy. Through examining the interconnection of medical, legal, religious and moral discourses on sexual behaviour, Gadelrab highlights the association between sex, sexuality and the creation and recreation of the concept of gender at this crucial moment in the development of Egyptian society. By analysing the debates at the time surrounding science, medicine, morality, modernity and sexuality, she paints a nuanced picture of the Egyptian understanding and manipulation of the concepts of sex and gender.