Author's note: I thank Hicham Bouzid, Saba Mahmood, and Damon Young for their comments on earlier drafts of this article. I have also benefited from discussions with members of the CRESS Seminar at the University of Oregon, especially Sangita Gopal and Amanda Powell, as well as from the IJMES anonymous readers.
1 Hamed, Marwan, dir., ʿImarat Yaʿqubyan (Cairo: Good News, 2006).
2 Quoted in Gihan Shahine, “A Taboo Too Far?” Al-Ahram Weekly, no. 803, 13–19 July 2006.
3 Brian Whitaker, “Call to Censor ‘Immoral’ Egyptian Film,” The Guardian, 6 July 2006.
4 Claude Guibal, “Sa sortie au Caire a choqué ou ravi,” Libération, 23 August 2006.
6 Jérôme Provençal, “Entretien avec Marwan Hamed,” Le Monde, 23 August 2006.
7 Negar Azimi, “Prisoners of Sex,” New York Times Magazine, 3 December 2006.
8 “Lajna bi-Majlis al-Shaʿb al-Misri li-Mushahadat ʿImarat Yaʿqubyan,” al-Jazeera, 6 July 2006.
9 For astute criticisms of how this civilizational ruse operates, see Brown, Wendy, Regulating Aversion (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006); and Mahmood, Saba, “Feminism, Democracy, and Empire: Islam and the War of Terror,” in Women's Studies on the Edge, ed. Scott, Joan (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2008).
10 For a discussion of homonationalism in particular, see Puar, Jasbir and Rai, Amit, “Monster, Terrorist, Fag,” Social Text 20 (2002): 117–48; and Puar, Jasbir, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2007). Lisa Duggan's work has also been foundational for discussions of homonormativity (from which Puar derives her title); see Duggan, Lisa, “Equality, Inc.,” in The Twilight of Equality? (Boston: Beacon Press, 2003). It is worth noting that in this context, the invocation of gay rights is less a call for nationalism than a critique of Egyptian politics, albeit one that still turns upon distinctions between countries.
12 Jasbir Puar, “To Be Gay and Racist Is No Anomaly,” The Guardian, 2 June 2010; and “Israel's Gay Propaganda War,” The Guardian, 1 July 2010.
13 Even the critic Joseph Massad concedes the national dimensions of the novel: “The Yaʿqubyan Building . . . make[s] not sexual deviance but a community of sexual deviants the manifest sign of postcolonial degeneration.” See Desiring Arabs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 389.
14 “Egypt Parliament to Scrutinise Film,” Al-Jazeera English, 5 July 2006.
15 For a discussion of this policy, see Butler, Judith, “Sexual Politics, Torture and Secular Time,” British Journal of Sociology 59 (2008): 3–4.
16 Applicants from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States are all exempt from the exam.
17 See Rouayeb, Khaled, Before Homosexuality in the Arab-Islamic World, 1500–1800 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005); and Jacob, Wilson Chacko, Working Out Egypt: Effendi Masculinity and Subject Formation in Colonial Modernity, 1870–1940 (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2011). Outside of the context of the Middle East, see Grewal, Inderpral and Kaplan, Caren, “Global Identities: Theorizing Transnational Studies of Sexuality,” GLQ 7 (2001): 663–79; and Lucey, Michael, The Misfit of the Family: Balzac and the Social Forms of Sexuality (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003).
18 Massad, Joseph, “Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World,” Public Culture 14 (2002): 361.
21 I draw inspiration here from Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky's reading of Billy Budd in Epistemology of the Closet (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1990).
22 al-Aswani, ʿAlaʾ, ʿImarat Yaʿqubyan (Cairo: Maktabat Madbuli, 2005/2002), 51; and Al Aswany, Alaa, The Yacoubian Building, trans. Davies, Humphrey (New York: Harper Perennial, 2004), 35.
30 Massad, Desiring Arabs, 393–95.
31 Al-Aswani, ʿImarat Yaʿqubyan, 54–55/37.
43 Mahfuz, Najib, al-Sukkariyya (Cairo: Maktabat Misr, 1957); and Hetata, Atef, dir., al-Abwab al-Mughlaka (Cairo: Misr International, 1999).
44 Massad, Desiring Arabs, 413–14.
45 Al-Aswani, ʿImarat Yaʿqubyan, 28/16.
51 Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet; Miller, D. A., The Novel and the Police (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1988), esp. the chapter “Secret Subjects, Open Secrets.”
52 Al-Aswani, ʿImarat Yaʿqubyan, 216/153.
53 For an astute reading of the Dera’ incident, see Silverman, Kaja, “White Skin, Brown Masks,” in Male Subjectivity at the Margins (New York: Routledge, 1992).
54 Al-Aswani, ʿImarat Yaʿqubyan, 342/242.
56 Massad, Desiring Arabs, 399.
57 Ibid. See also al-Samman, Hanadi's reading of this novel in the context of emasculation, “Out of the Closet: Representations of Homosexuals and Lesbians in Modern Arabic Literature,” Journal of Arabic Literature 39 (2008): 286–87.
59 Bersani, Leo, “Is the Rectum a Grave?” October 43 (1987): 197–222.
60 Ezra Levant, “Gay-Bashers Thrive in Modern-Day Netherlands,” Toronto Sun, 10 October 2010.