A Rainbow Thread: A History of Queer Identities in Judaism and Islam


The notion that gender and sexuality minorities are forbidden or simply do not exist within traditional judaism and islamic traditions is an assumption that has been questioned in recent years. For these scholars and activists, it is not up for debate whether someone can be queer and Jewish or queer and Muslim. Therefore, what follows is an exploration of how to resurrect gender non-conforming interpretations of religious texts and rediscover the spectrum of gender and sexual identities that have always existed within Judaism and Islam. The course is divided into three parts. First, we will examine the religious textual traditions of both faiths to establish the space for queer identities in both the Qur'an and Torah as well as the traditions of Hadith and Talmud. Second, we will study key communities such as medieval Iberia, the Ottoman Mediterranean, Hasidic communities in Eastern Europe, Qajar Iran, and the colonial empires of the Middle East. This survey will show the influence European christian dominance had (or did not have) on the evolution of jewish and islamic gender and sexual norms from pre-modern times through the 20th century. Finally, we will examine the 21st century by reading the memoirs of trans muslims and trans Jews in order to analyze the ways in which contemporary queer jewish and islamic individuals frame their experiences and tell their stories of faith with agency, in their own words.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS LCD; AS WI I; AS SC; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

A Rainbow Thread: A History of Queer Identities in Judaism and Islam
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