Lara Deeb

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Scripps College

Grant number

Gr. 9592

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Deeb, Dr. Lara, Scripps College, Claremont, CA - To aid research on 'Sect as Social Difference: Responses to Intersectarian Relationships in Lebanon'

Preliminary abstract: ‘Sect as Social Difference’ uses family and social responses to intersectarian committed relationships — both heterosexual marriages and queer partnerships — as a lens through which to investigate the meanings that sectarian identity holds for people in the Middle East. The project takes Lebanon – with sectarianism as its hallmark — as its key research site, and asks the the following interrelated research questions: How do families and social networks respond to intersectarian relationships? How do heterosexual couples make decisions about which legal system(s) to engage in intersectarian marriages? How do gender and sexuality affect social responses to intersectarian relationships? What role does political context play in responses to intersectarian committed relationships? And finally, what can social responses to intersectarian relationships teach us about sectarian identity and how sect relates to other social categories for organizing difference? Sectarian boundaries and identities are fluid social constructs produced in different ways in different times and places. Yet sectarianism today is a salient discourse both about the Middle East and for those living there. To trouble assumptions about the rigidity or inevitability of sectarian identity and conflict, this project explores social and familial responses to the violation of sectarian boundaries that takes place when couples join in intersectarian committed relationships.