Spring Course Spotlight - GLOA 450 - 002 - The Forbidden Middle East

Spring Course Spotlight - GLOA 450 - 002 - The Forbidden Middle East

Sex, God and Unholy Sheikhs: The Forbidden Middle East

07:20 PM to 10:00 PM W —  Robinson B122

Professor Abdelilah Bouasria

There is a huge misperception in the West regarding the Middle East and North Africa region as a noble savage region associated with religious purity devoid of crime or deviance. Throughout this course,  students will learn that "VICE" is so deeply entrenched in the MENA region (like many regions) to the extent that it becomes a structural  survival strategy in the mainstream society based on greed, theft and brigandage with no clear divide between activities of the official formal sector and the underground and informal realm. We will delve with uncomfortable questions such as: Why do Arab women rush to buy fake brands in Turkey? why do poor Egyptians sell their kidneys to rich patients from the Gulf? How does Hymen surgery work in the Middle East? Why does a Moroccan woman get a work visa in the Emirates as a "hairdresser"? what does BIN LADEN have in common with NARCO-DOLLARS? How does Arab sorcery function? Why do middle east queers rarely come out meanwhile Muslim apostates are daring to venture out of the faith closet?


This course will trace the origins and operations of the illicit economy and society in the MENA region. Some topics are tax evasion, drug trafficking, prostitution, human and organ trafficking, illegal immigration, Wasta, Hawala, Piracy and organized crime. Students ("Bad boys and Girls") will share their insights about the whole gamut of nefarious economic, political and societal transactions, from money laundering to Sorcery and counterfeiting. Moreover, External factors such as the "war on drugs" and sanctions encourage the thriving of a shadow economy and politics. Students in this course are encouraged to view the MENA region through the eyes of someone looking to skirt the law in order to grasp the depth of many middle eastern anomalies.