book cover for Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, and the State in Lebanon by Maya Mikdashi.

Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, & the State in Lebanon

a book talk & conversation with Maya Mikdashi & Maysam Taher

October 20 2022, 6 to 7:30 pm

20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor

Registration not required for in-person attendance. In-person attendance is limited to current NYU students, staff, and faculty who are compliant with NYU’s COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Per current NYU policy, masks can no longer be required, but we strongly encourage them for community care.


With Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, and the State in Lebanon, Maya Mikdashi offers a new way to understand state power, theorizing how sex, sexuality, and sect shape and are shaped by law, secularism, and sovereignty. The Lebanese state is structured through religious freedom and secular power sharing across sectarian groups. Every sect has specific laws that govern kinship matters like marriage or inheritance. Together with criminal and civil laws, these laws regulate and produce political difference. But whether women or men, Muslims or Christians, queer or straight, all people in Lebanon have one thing in common—they are biopolitical subjects forged through bureaucratic, ideological, and legal techniques of the state.

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Co-sponsored by the NYU Center for the Humanities and by the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis.

Maya Mikdashi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University. Her first book Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism and the State in Lebanon (SUP, 2022) theorizes the relationships between sexual difference and political difference, the religious and the secular, and law, bureaucracy, and biopower. Her work is grounded in ethnographic and archival research, and has been translated into Arabic, Turkish, French, Spanish and German.  Maya has been published in several peer reviewed journals, including the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Gay and Lesbian Quarterly, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the Journal of Palestine Studies, and the American Indian Culture and Research Journal. She has also been published in  peer reviewed edited volumes and in public facing venues. She is a co-founding editor of Jadaliyya.

Maysam Taher is an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU. She holds a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from New York University, and a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine. Working across Political Theory, Critical and Postcolonial Theory, and Cultural Studies, her research is broadly concerned with conceptualizing borders as institutions that order, re/produce and regulate political, social, economic, cultural, and psychic life. Her project “Borders in Disrepair” combined fieldwork and archival research to track the transformations of the Central Mediterranean border between Libya and Italy from 1911-2011, drawing out of this particular geography a history of our global present.


Oct 20 2022


6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

More Info

Zoom Registration


20 Cooper Square

Other Locations

Zoom webinar


Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality at NYU
Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality at NYU

Other Organizers

Department of Social & Cultural Analysis @ NYU
Department of Social & Cultural Analysis @ NYU
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