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R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Visiting Scholar

For a number of years the Center for Middle East Studies at UCSB has hosted a distinguished senior scholar each year for a short ‘residency’ during which that scholar has not only delivered a public lecture, but also led a graduate text seminar, and, in addition, has held meetings with graduate students and faculty members.  In recent years these distinguished visitors have included Gregor Schoeler (2010), Patricia Crone (2011), Wadad Kadi (2012), Angelika Neuwirth (2013), Maribel Fierro (2014), Richard Bulliet (2015), and Michael Cook (2016).

In 2012, the Middle East Studies Faculty voted to honor Professor R. Stephen Humphreys (History, UCSB) on the occasion of his retirement by officially naming this annual residency the “R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Visiting Scholar.”  It is therefore with great pleasure that this year we welcome Everett K. Rowson (New York University) as the 2017 R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Visiting Scholar.








Everett K. Rowson
Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
New York University


Monday, May 15, 2017, 6:00pm
HSSB 4080

It’s Complicated: Sexuality in Premodern Islamic Societies

Views of sexuality in modern and contemporary Islamic societies are in general completely at variance with those held in premodern Islamic societies, largely due to the impact of Western colonialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  This talk will attempt to sketch out some of the complexities of premodern attitudes, noting that our available Arabic textual sources are anything but reticent about questions of gender and sexuality, aspiring to a full and frank taxonomy of variations in both realms, but also exhibiting a range of attitudes that can by no means be reduced to a simple exposition of what “Islam” says about sex.

Everett K. Rowson is Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at New York University.  He earned a B.A. in Classics from Princeton and a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Yale.  Before coming to NYU he held positions at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.  His initial specialization was in Islamic philosophy and his first book was on a tenth-century work on the immortality of the soul.  He has subsequently translated historical chronicles, explored aspects of medieval Arabic prose literature, and published a series of articles on gender and sexuality in premodern Islamic societies.

Sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, R. Stephen Humphreys Distinguished Lecture Series



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