Sexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture.

A talk by Mehammed Amadeus Mack, Assistant Professor of French Studies, Smith College

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
4:45 pm-6:00 pm
Haldeman 41 (Kreindler Conference Hall)

In contemporary France, particularly in the banlieues of Paris, the figure of the young, virile, hypermasculine Muslim looms large. So large, in fact, it often supersedes liberal secular society’s understanding of gender and sexuality altogether. Engaging the nexus of race, gender, nation, and sexuality, Mehammed Mack’s talk will explore the broad politicization of Franco-Arab identity in the context of French culture and its assumptions about appropriate modes of sexual and gender expression, both gay and straight. Official French culture, as Mack suggests, has judged the integration of Muslim immigrants from North and West Africa―as well as their French descendants―according to their presumed attitudes about gender and sexuality. More precisely, Mack argues, the frustrations consistently expressed by the French establishment in the face of the alleged Muslim refusal to assimilate is not only symptomatic of anxieties regarding changes to a “familiar” France but also indicative of an unacknowledged preoccupation with what Mack identifies as the “virility cultures” of Franco-Arabs, rendering Muslim youth as both sexualized objects and unruly subjects.  Click on the link below to learn more about Amadeus Mack.

Sponsored by the Department of French and Italian