Hymen exams and anal exams are part of the interface of sexual regulation in contemporary Lebanon. In this talk I trace the legal and similarities and differences between these exams, and argue that both anal and hymen exams regulate and produce sexual difference in terms of a sex binary and in terms of a difference in sexualities. I examine these exams and their circulation in national and transnational space using original archival and ethnographic research, which I read through an intersectional and interdisciplinary framework. Finally, throughout this talk I will be illustrating some of the different approaches to the study of sexual difference within the field of gender and womens studies: approaches that include LGBTQ studies, sexuality and gender studies, and feminist studies.
Maya Mikdashi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Womens and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of the state, and is currently completing a book manuscript that examines sectarian difference, sexual difference, secularism, and state power in the War on Terror era Middle East, from the vantage point of Lebanon. Maya is a co-founding editor of the e-zine Jadaliyya.com and is a filmmaker and writer. She is co-director of the feature length documentary film About Baghdad (2004), co- founding member of filmmaking cooperative Quilting Point Productions, and director of Notes on The War (2006). Most recently Maya co-conceptualized, co-wrote (with director Carlos Motta), and performed in a historical fantasy film set in 19th century Beirut and Bogota, Deseos/ رغبات. Maya is the Chair of the Indigenous People's Caucus at the NWSA.