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Dominic Longo: Saracens, Sodomites, and 'ilm al-bah, the Islamic science of sex
WhenThursday, Mar 1, 2018, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room202
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsCo-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Near & Middle Eastern Studies; the Comparative Religion Program of the Jackson School of International Studies; the Islamic Studies Program of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities.
Target AudienceStudents & faculty

Christian and Islamic theologies of sex and the body intertwine with patriarchy, coloniality, and other politics of oppression between and among Christians and Muslims throughout history. Constructing liberating post-colonial theologies of sex and the body for today requires acknowledging and disentangling these historical power dynamics. ‘Ilm al-bah, the classical Islamic arts and sciences of sex and the body, presents valuable resources for this constructive theological project. By focusing on the encyclopedic book called The Sash in the Benefits of Sex by Jalal al-Dın al-Suyutı (d. 1505), Dominic Longo makes the case for excavating ‘ilm al-bah to help us learn to uphold the dignity of human beings in all their sexual diversity.

Dominic Longo is Director of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center and Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He is a comparative theologian with a PhD in Arabic and Islamic studies from Harvard University and a master’s in comparative theology from Boston College. His principal scholarly interests are in Islamic and Christian religious literature, spirituality, and literary theory—all of which he explores in his recent book, Spiritual Grammar: Genre and the Saintly Subject in Islam and Christianity (Fordham University Press, 2017). Longo has also taught courses in literature, theology, philosophy, Arabic, and Islamic studies at Harvard University, Northeastern University, and the New School.

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