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Queer-Arab-French: Sexuality, Islam and Citizenship in France (QAF)
Start date: Sep 1, 2012, End date: Aug 31, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

How do North African (Maghrebi) men and Maghrebi-French men negotiate and understand same-sex desire when living in a French urban context? Does the ethnic North African, who pursues erotic same-sex relationships in France, identify himself as ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’? During the Fellowship, my broad goal is to address these questions through the completion of a monograph, titled Queer-Arab-French: Sexuality, Islam, and Citizenship in France. It consists of an ethnographic study of same-sex sexualities, which is based on interviews with Maghrebi and Maghrebi-French homosexual males in major urban centres in France. I will work with specialists in French studies, linguistics and Communication Studies at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) to analyze how every-day speech and urban space influence Maghrebi-French understandings of sexuality and citizenship. My project will demonstrate how Maghrebi and Maghrebi-French men may explain their sexuality in terms of a modern ‘coming out’ narrative, documented in the recent scholarship on French homosexuality. Nevertheless, North African sexual minorities are able to negotiate cultural hybridity, interculturality, and ‘belonging’ in a ‘third space’ that combines elements from traditional and modern discourses such as family, honour, face-saving, the symbolic order of gender differences, as well as the western constructs of individualism and sexual autonomy. These men also address broader public policy debates on Islam, Islamaphobia, and homophobia. My project aims to create a new critical framework for examining Muslim sexual minorities and to inform the work of academics in a variety of disciplines, as well as that of activists, politicians and healthcare workers. Since the staff and students I would work with at NTU investigate related research questions, the potential exists to expand these findings and bring new knowledge about immigration, citizenship, sexual health, and human rights discourses to the UK and the EU.
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