Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Marwan M. Kraidy


This dissertation examines the mediation of non-normative genders and sexualities in contemporary Lebanese public culture since the end of the civil war in 1990. Through a critical analysis of television performances, literary texts, digital media productions, and narrative films and interviews with cultural producers, I demonstrate how media discourses on sexuality engender the public sphere through the construction and contestation of ideal masculinity and femininity. The confessional television talk shows, feminist films, and autobiographical digital and print queer publications collected here are genres that unsettle distinctions between the private and the public, the personal and the political. Through their circulation, these representations produce social discourses that reveal the centrality of sex and gender in the articulation of individual, collective, and national identities. They are public interfaces where the recognition and contestation of social difference unfolds, but they are also cultural artifacts that record and document the otherwise unspoken and invisible violence of normativity on dominated subjects. I conclude that processes of mediation shape the visibility of non-normative subjectivities and give cultural representations their social meaning, revealing what a repressed discourse on sexuality – one I characterize as infrapolitical – can tell us about the mechanics of power in society.