Modern Bodies

Modern Bodies

Dress, Nation, Empire, Sexuality and Gender in the Modern Middle East

Cover photo for Modern Bodies conference




Working from a position of multiple modernities, multiple imperialisms, and in recognition of the diversity of regional experiences of postcoloniality, this one day conference examines the role of the dressed, and undressed, body in the formation, staging, and interrogation of the modern Middle East. Ranging from the role of the displayed elite body in campaigns for gender and social emancipation in Ottoman imperial cultures through to accounts of dress in the lives of early nationalist women and men, papers also investigate the use of legal frameworks by those who seek to control or resist the movement of women’s and men’s bodies. Combining approaches from cultural, social, and economic history with the history of art, photography and visual culture, the conference evaluates the role of material culture, representation, and curation in the telling of women’s and gender history and histories of sexuality. Bringing forward new primary material and re-investigating extant sources from new perspectives, Modern Bodies provides an opportunity to reflect on the role of the archive, collecting, and display in the imaging of the Middle East.

With a periodisation focused on the late nineteenth to mid twentieth century, the conference provides a valuable lens through which to evaluate the critical role of the (un)dressed gendered body in contemporary struggles over nation, modernity, and postmodernity.

Jointly convened by Professor Reina Lewis, LCF, UAL, and Professor Yasmine Nachabe Taan, LAU, this conference will be held at LAU, Irwin Auditorium, Beirut campus on Thursday 15 March, 2018.

The complete program is found here.

There is no conference fee, but advance registration is essential. To register for this event, click here.


Image credit: A crop from Yasmine Nachabe Taan, Women on the beach as seen in circulating journals in 1920’s Cairo, Digital Print on Canvas, 80 cm x 120 cm, 2012.