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While Western scholars and media notoriously scrutinize the role of women and feminine identity in Arab literature and culture, Samira Aghacy's new book is groundbreaking in exploring masculinity and male identity in Arab literature over the past four decades.
This book offers an exploration of masculinity in the literature of the Arab East (Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Iraq) in the context of a specific set of anxieties about gender roles and sexuality in Arab societies. While gender studies in the area have focused primarily on the situation of women, the treatment of Arab men as gendered subjects has fallen behind. Samira Aghacy’s rich analysis presents gender relations not within a fixed biological mold, but rather as a complex phenomenon fraught with ambivalence and operating within particular historical and geopolitical settings.
Through a series of close readings of twenty contemporary Arabic novels, Aghacy presents a mosaic of masculinities that challenges the generally held view of an essentialized archetypal Arab man and mirrors a contested vision of manliness where men figure in diverse sociocultural environments. This groundbreaking work reveals the volatile nature of masculinity and its inextricability from femininity.
Samira Aghacy had her M.A. and Ph.D in English from the University of Exeter, England. She joined L.A.U. as Associate Professor in 1987. She was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1993. She chaired the Humanities Division between 1991 and 2003. In October 2003, she was appointed Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Aghacy has also taught at the University of Jordan, the Lebanese University and A.U.B. She has published a Bibliography and a book of poems as well as various articles in International literary journals and has participated in numerous international conferences.