Queer Maghrebi French

Language, Temporalities, Transfiliations

Denis M Provencher

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ISBN: 9781781383001

Publication: June 6, 2017

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 44

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This book investigates the lives and stories of queer Maghrebi and Maghrebi French men who moved to or grew up in contemporary France. It combines original French language data from my ethnographic fieldwork in France with a wide array of recent narratives and cultural productions including performance art and photography, films, novels, autobiographies, published letters, and other first-person essays to investigate how these queer men living in France and the diaspora stake claims to time and space, construct kinship, and imagine their own future. By closely examining empirical evidence from the lived experiences of these queer Maghrebi French-speakers, this book presents a variety of paths available to these men who articulate and pioneer their own sexual difference within their families of origin and contemporary French society. These sexual minorities of North African origin may explain their homosexuality in terms of a “modern coming out” narrative when living in France. Nevertheless, they are able to negotiate cultural hybridity and flexible language, temporalities, and filiations, that combine elements from a variety of discourses on family, honor, face-saving, the symbolic order of gender differences, gender equality, as well as the western and largely neoliberal constructs of individualism and sexual autonomy.

Denis Provencher is Professor and Head, Department of French & Italian, Faculty Affiliate, Institute for LGBT Studies, Department of Linguistics, and Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Arizona. He is the author of Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship in France (Ashgate Publishing, 2007).

List of Illustrations viii
Acknowledgements ix
Prologue: Sidi Jenih – Saint Genet: An Example of Queer Maghrebi French 1
Introduction: Queer Maghrebi French: Language, Temporalities, Transfiliations 9

1  2Fik’s Coming out à l’orientale and “Coming out” of France 56
2  Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed’s Universal Performance of French Citizenship and Muslim Brotherhood 109
3  Abdellah Taia’s Queer Moroccan Family and Transmission of Baraka 147
4  Mehdi Ben Attia’s Family Ties, Temporalities, and Revolutionary Figures 195
5  Nacir, Tahar, and Farid: Identification, Disidentification, and Impossible Citizenship 239
Epilogue: Queer Maghrebi French: Flexible Language and Activism 283

Bibliography 292
Index 307

‘An incisive and original queer reading and assessment of new identities and voices from Maghrebi and Maghrebi French communities.' 

Martine Antle, MacCaughey Chair of French Studies, University of Sydney


Mixing ethnography and literary and cultural studies, Queer Maghrebi French constructs a stunningly elaborate nexus of theoretical concerns and analytical frameworks—queer theory, postcolonial studies, French lesbian and gay studies, queer temporality, critical race and ethnicity studies, the anthropology of kinship, gay linguistics, and cultural geography—to examine the intricate ways in which artists and writers of North African descent negotiate the competing claims of secular Republicanism and familial and religious ties.
Professor Jarrod Hayes, University of Michigan


This book is a most timely and original analysis of the ways in which Queer subjects straddling French and Maghrebi languages, religions and cultures construct themselves when they come out to their family, their friends, or an international public. With his concept of transfiliation, Provencher provides us with a precious tool to rethink globalizing queer kinships.

Dr. Mireille Rosello, University of Amsterdam


Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

272 Pages

ISBN: 9781781383001

Publication: June 6, 2017

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 44

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