Être ce qui ne se dit pas: negotiating a gay identity in Abdellah Taïa’s Une Mélancolie arabe

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This article looks at the debate surrounding homosexuality in the Maghreb, and analyzes Abdellah Taa's Une Mlancolie arabe (2008). It draws on masculinity theory to examine the process of asserting a gay identity in the context of a society where the existence of such an identity is often denied. It argues that there is little discursive space in which the protagonist can express a gay identity in the way 'gay' is understood in the West, and considers the difficulty in asserting such an identity in a cultural setting where there is such denial. The article contends that Une Mlancolie arabe questions the ontological security of understandings of homosexuality between men in Muslim-influenced countries, and asserts that the novel challenges the current gender order and attempts to forge a 'gay' identity.

Keywords: Moroccan literature; North Africa; gay identity; homosexuality; masculinity

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijfs.15.1.35_1

Affiliations: University of Swansea

Publication date: August 13, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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