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QUEERING HETEROSEXUAL (INTERSECTARIAN) LOVE IN LEBANON

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 November 2019

Sabiha Allouche*
Affiliation:
Sabiha Allouche is a Lecturer in Middle East Politics, University of Exeter; e-mail: s.allouche@exeter.ac.uk

Abstract

This article draws on a year of ethnography conducted among cis heterosexual couples in contemporary urban Lebanon in order to argue that, in the absence of a serious project of national reconciliation, intersectarian love, despite its short lifespan, constitutes restorative instances in post–civil war Lebanon. Intersectarian hetero desire emerges as a counter-discourse that threatens the masculinist foundations of the Lebanese state. By tracing the timeline of love in the life of Lebanese citizens, this article places personal narratives of “impossible” intersectarian love stories in conversation with queer temporality scholarship in order to recognize the political, albeit limited, potential of romantic love. Here, societal expectations of married life are replaced by an ephemeral unity that operates in contra to hegemonic interpretations of “man and wife.”

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Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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References

NOTES

Author's note: I would like to thank the IJMES anonymous referees, editor Akram Khater, and the copyediting team for their valuable recommendations. I wish to dedicate this article to Dr. Caroline Osella, my PhD supervisor, and to the 2018–19 cohort of students I taught at SOAS. Thank you for keeping up with my constant digressing about my work!

1 The names of all my interlocutors have been changed to guarantee their anonymity. The names I choose are random and do not necessarily reflect one's sect. In addition, some nicknames, chosen by my interlocutors themselves, were used in lieu of common names, per their request.

2 Khutūba is the step that precedes marriage in Lebanon. Khutūbah marks the event from which the couple emerges as “official” in the eyes of society. It neither religiously sanctioned nor necessarily an indication that marriage is imminent.

3 Aline, interview with the author, February 2014, Beirut.

4 In their examination of leisurely activities among Shiʿi youth in southern Beirut, Lara Deeb and Mona Harb show how their young interlocutors reconcile their religion, their attachments to the political party Hizbullah, and leisurely activities. See Deeb, and Harb, , Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi'ite South Beirut (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2013)Google Scholar.

5 Aline, interview with the author, February 2014, Beirut.

6 Ibid.

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8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

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12 Ibid., 283.

13 Ibid.

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71 Anzaldúa, Borderland/La Frontera, 42.

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73 Ibid, 104.

74 Lubna, interview with the author, March 2014, Jbeil.

75 Izza, interview with the author, July 2014, Beirut.

76 Nur, interview with the author, September 2014, Beirut.

77 Suad Joseph, “Civic Myths, Citizenship, and Gender in Lebanon,” in Gender and Citizenship, 107–36.

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83 There are indications in traditional and emergent media that this trend is slowly changing, with an increasing number of projects, notably “ecotourism” ones, being advertised. In addition, in recent years there has been a revival of musical events in the summer, with a great number of cities and towns attracting large audiences.

84 Jana, interview with author, August 2014, Beirut.

85 Anzaldúa, Gloria, “Preface: (Un)Natural Bridges, (Un)Safe Spaces,” in This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation, ed. Anzaldúa, Gloria and Keating, Analouise (New York: Routledge, 2002), 15Google Scholar.

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88 Lara, interview with the author, June 2014, Tripoli.

89 Jomana, interview with the author, Beirut, May 2014.

90 Mireille, interview with the author, near Beirut, April 2015.

91 Kibbeh nayyih is a Levantine dish that consists of finely processed raw meat seasoned with a mix of herbs. In the vegetarian/vegan version, meat is replaced with potato.

92 Jomana, Skype interview with the author, March 2016.

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106 Muñoz, Cruising Utopia, 1.

107 Edelman, No Future.

108 I use the pronoun “they” to refer to those individuals who embrace non-normative practices.

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