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Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0814774687 ISBN-10: 0814774687

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Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature + Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500-1800 + Islamicate Sexualities: Translations across Temporal Geographies of Desire (Harvard Middle Eastern Monographs)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (February 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814774687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814774687
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fascinating and eye-opening book about a topic much hinted at but little considered systematically. The authors not only have the benefit of knowing homosexuality in many other societies but are well grounded in matters Islamic."

-Middle East Quarterly,

"Islamic Homosexualities clearly suceeds...a valuable addition to any library or interested reader's bookshelf."

-Journal of Homosexuality,

About the Author

Will Roscoe is the award-winning author of The Zuni Man/Womanand Queer Spirits: A Gay Men's Myth Book and the editor of Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology and Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of its Founder by Harry Hay.



Stephen O. Murray is a comparative sociologist who lives in San Francisco. He is the author of American Gay, Latin American Male Homosexualities, Oceanic Homosexualities, and a half dozen other books.


More About the Author

My new Kindle book (Pieces for a History of Gay Studies) recounts my involvement during the mid-1970s in founding gay academic groups in which I was unusual in that I was not doing gay research. This changed and two articles published in 1979 (The art of gay insulting, Institutional elaboration of a quasi-ethnic community) are (to some chagrin on my part) my most often cited articles.

I put together a series of books about roles and conceptions of those involved in same-sex sex between 1987 (Male Homosexuality in Central and South America) and 2002 (Pacific Homosexualities) culminating in "Homosexualities" (2000).

My University of Toronto dissertation was a social history of ethnolinguistics/sociolinguistics. It was published in 1983, revised and expanded in 1994, and what I originally conceived as my dissertation, updated with accounts of groups and networks (American Sociolinguistics, 1998). With Keelung Hong I have written two critical accounts of Anglophone social science about Taiwan (Looking Through Taiwan). I also wrote a book on the Khmer society that erected Angkor Wat (,Angkor Thom, et al.), "Angkor Life."

I am currently (not) working on two books: "Male Desire" and "Reading Sicily in English." I have lived in San Francisco since 1978, on (relatively) sunny Potrero hill since 1982, and have been writing about books, movies, and music on epinions since 2000.

I welcome feedback on my writing: at som1950@hotmail.com.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 92 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Less than a third of this book is about homosexuality in present-day Muslim countries, but a major purpose of the book is to show that the repressiveness sponsored by contemporary "Islamicist fundamentalists" is not the only Muslim approach. Indeed, historically, accommodations to pederasty and to a few gender-variant individuals were made, and The Abode of Islam was far less hostile to same-sex eros and same-sex sex (so long as the insertees were young, effeminate, and/or non-Muslim) than Christendom.

This is not to say that homosexuality is part of the religion. As Roscoe's chapter shows, the area conquered/converted by Muslims had a history of accommodations of pederasty and gender-dichotomized homosexuality (the two types have been mixed in many places with entertainers who have been both young and effeminate). Murray's longest chapter on "the will not to know" about what anyone who looked or thought about what's going on has a wide utility (he specifically links it to Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" "policy").
The chapters on literature -- especially those of Jim Wafer -- push perhaps too hard for a homosexual (rather than homoerotic) readings. The line between "history" and `anthropology" is blurred, and the contemporary materials are mostly non-Arab, centering on Pakistan.
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73 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Pipes, Middle East Forum, Philadelphia on July 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Put aside the homophilism and the jargon, both of which are a bit strong, and what�s left is a fascinating and eye-opening book about a topic much hinted at but little considered systematically. The authors not only have the benefit of knowing homosexuality in many other societies but are well grounded in matters Islamic. Despite the title, they deal predominantly with men; lesbians are little known about.
As with so much else in the sexual realm, Islamic norms differ profoundly from Western ones. The authors establish several points: (1) Islam treats homosexuality far less harshly than does Judaism or Christianity. (2) Sex between men results in part from the segregation of women and in part from the poetic and folk heritage holding that the penetration of a pretty boy is the ultimate in sexual delight. (3) Sex between men is �frowned upon, but accepted� so long as the participants also marry and have children; and also if they keep quiet about this activity. (4) The key distinction is not hetero- vs. homosexual but active vs. passive; men are expected to seek penetration (with wives, prostitutes, males, animals); the only real shame is attached to serving in the female role. (5) Youths usually serve in the female role and can leave behind this shame by graduating to the male role. (6) The great Muslim emphasis on family life renders homosexuality far less threatening to Muslim societies than to Western ones (Muslim men seeking formally to marry each other remains unimaginable).
In the most startling parts of Islamic Homosexualities, Murray and Roscoe re-interpret important historical developments through the prism of male sex among Muslims.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Richard Handley on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
It gives lots of information on Islamic culture and history for pre 1600 that can be very useful.
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