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Strategic Silences: Theorising Nineteenth Century Slavery and Sexual Desire in the Central Sudan

Författare och institution:
Hauwa Mahdi (Institutionen för globala studier)
Publicerad i:
Forum on Public Policy Online , 2015 ( 2 )
ISSN:
1938-9809
E-ISSN:
1938-9809
Publikationstyp:
Artikel, refereegranskad vetenskaplig
Publiceringsår:
2015
Språk:
engelska
Fulltextlänk:
Sammanfattning (abstract):
This paper engages the ideology of sexual difference in slavery in the construction of gender inequality in the Central Sudan. Historical studies of Islamic states acknowledge the principles of slavery and concubinage as intrinsic parts of the states. Nineteenth century political leaders and contemporary academics seldom acknowledge sexual desire in religious interpretations and state ideologies. When academics theorise slavery, their perspectives focus on slaves as material producers. This approach silences the biosocial interfaces of slavery and gender in reproducing those societies. This article takes its point of departure in the rules of sexual behaviour and the monetary differential values of male/female slaves in Muslim societies. Why were female slaves valued higher? How significant was sexual desire in the reproduction of 19th century African Muslim societies? I argue that, the higher value of female slaves and the higher value of beauty amongst them signify that sex and desire were decisive factors in gendered hierarchy. The relative silence about sex is itself part of asserting the patriarchal heteronormative structure of the societies. The analysis draws from the writings of state actors in the Central Sudan, European travellers, as well as academic works on slavery in Africa. The paper argues that the demographic imbalance of the sexes produced by the export of Africans converged with Islamic state ideology that served patriarchy to privilege male sexual desire. The conclusions are, that: sexual desire is a significant factor in state ideologies in Islamic states; the silences surrounding sexual desire reflect the Muslim elite’s strategic interpretative authority in redistributing privilege; and that hetro-male privilege strategically silences discourse about sexuality in the 19th century and reverberate in social inequalities of the present.
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP ->
Annan samhällsvetenskap ->
Genusstudier
HUMANIORA ->
Filosofi, etik och religion ->
Religionsvetenskap ->
Islamologi
HUMANIORA ->
Filosofi, etik och religion ->
Religionshistoria
HUMANIORA ->
Annan humaniora ->
Kulturstudier
Nyckelord:
Religion, Slavery, Gender, Africa, Islam, Muslim, Women
Postens nummer:
236568
Posten skapad:
2016-05-16 10:01

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