Comment échapper à la honte du zamel: Vers la construction de la masculinité maghrébine queer

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Abstract

Through the examination of Abdellah Taïa’s three texts, Le Jour du roi, Une mélancolie arabe and L’Armée du salut, we will look at the construction of a queer-Maghrebi masculinity that previously had no other expression aside from zamel, a derogatory Arabic term designating a man who prefers being penetrated by other men. The zamel represents the cultural shame of a hetero- and islamo-centric society whose norms are built upon the rule of the patriarchy. This essay will explore, however, how Taïa reestablish a queer Moroccan masculinity for a peripheral population who is customarily feminized. In order to confirm the existence of a queer masculinity in these three texts, we propose a reading where the author deconstructs the power of the patriarchy whose downfall permits new expressions of masculinity outside of Moroccan norms. By erasing the sociocultural and sexual dominance of the king, and by extension, of paternity as a social construct, Taïa constructs a literary world in Le Jour du Roi that allows a rewriting of how Morocanness is expressed, and in particular, how a queer, Moroccan masculinity is expressed. This reading appears equally in Une mélancolie arabe and L’Armée du salut where the protagonist-narrator of each text reaffirms his existence and his masculinity while at the same time being confronted by a society that qualifies them as zamel. Through this collection of texts, Taïa constructs a Moroccan masculinity that is queer in a society where such an expression does not exist. These texts serve as a confrontational space between islamonormativity and sexuality.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)135-154
Journal@nalyses: Revue de Critque et de Théorie Littéraire
Volume11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 5 2016

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