Health / Emotional and sexual life - Tunisia

Gender and Sexuality in early 19th-century Tunisia: a Decolonial Reading of Ahmad b. al-Qadi al-Timbuktawi's nasiha on the sub-Saharan diaspora

24.11.2020 / Created by (EMWF)

This article examines the gender and sexuality politics in early nineteenth-century Tunisia, with particular reference to the healing rituals performed by the diasporic sub-Saharans and the attempts at disciplining them by Muslim religious scholars. It does so through an in-depth analysis of a 1808 naṣīḥa penned by the West African scholar Aḥmad b. al-Qāḍī al-Timbuktāwī, where the Tunisian rulers are urged to ban the religious practices of the sub-Saharan populationsmainly slaveswhich are deemed un-Islamic. In addition to close-reading the naṣīḥa, I contextualise and compare it with other texts and literature to ‘unveil’ not only al-Timbuktāwī’s discourse but also the history of enslaved sub-Saharans and the larger social, cultural and political history of early nineteenth-century Tunisia. I argue that al-Timbuktāwī’s request to ban the rituals was religiously motivated, but it also aimed at preventing the leadership and sexual intimacy which the rituals allegedly promoted, and I investigate whether such gender and sexual practices were perceived as disrupting the domestic Tunisian social and sexual order (or not).


  • Type of publication : Article
  • Author : Itzea Goikolea-Amiano
  • Publishing house : Genre & Histoire
  • Publication date : 2020
  • Number of pages : 14
  • Language : English


To write a comment, please, register and exhange with members of the Network

Register with the Foundation