As the child of an Egyptian father and Welsh mother, Feki references her own personal and familial background. Feki walks a thin line as she invites the reader to look inside the bedroom without turning it into a peep-show. Both in the introduction and conclusion, Feki frames the book in what feels like an obligatory appropriation of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, Vol. There is little relevant analytical depth to follow many of the academic and theoretical references made by the author.
Six of the seven chapters begin with quotes from her Egyptian grandmother. Had Feki connected the multiple stories she tells with an overarching theoretical postion, the book may have made a significant contribution to on-going academic discussions on sex, sexuality, and international rights movements.
The author weaves first-hand personal interviews with leading civil-society workers, academics, and politicians—which she conducted throughout Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia—with social science scholarship and statistics, without including belabored references. At the same time, Feki clearly states that this is not the purpose of her work.
For many in Tahrir Square circa 2011, the Arab Spring promised to bring revolutionary change to Egypt, whether social, cultural, political, and/or sexual.
Two years later, many are asking what happened to the aspirations of individuals who flooded the streets of downtown Cairo.
In a country where demonstrators once held signs declaring their togetherness “against Injustice,” today we hear stories of rampant sexual abuse against women.
Instead of a political discourse focused on how to establish security for all Egyptians, women are blamed for these sexual attacks.
While political pundits and the international media continue to speculate over whether President Mohamed Morsi will be able to bring economic and political stability to Egypt, the revolution seems to be playing out in two separate, yet intimately related and politicized fields: sex and religion.
Examining the intersection between these two areas with ostensibly scientific objectivity, TED Fellow and former vice chair of the U. Global Commission on HIV and Law, Shereen el-Feki, discusses sex and sexuality in post-Arab Spring Egypt and its significance for future generations living in the larger Middle East and North Africa region in Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World.
Drawing from her professional background as a Cambridge-trained immunologist and journalist for The Economist, Feki promises to show us “an album of snapshots” that she gathered from over five years of research. A long list of sexual practices, experiences, and desires are mentioned in the book.
The work includes a significant autobiographical thread, as well. As with many sexual fetishes, some may horrify, while others may entice. Some will read the book and dismiss it, justifiably, for not being academic, dare I say not going deep enough.
In the chapter “Dare to Be Different,” where Feki details various issues pertaining to the LGBT community in the Arab World, she quickly mentions Columbia University professor Joseph Massad’s “Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World” (later republished as a chapter in Desiring Arabs).