Theses Doctoral

Sectarian Homes: The Making of Shi'i Families and Citizens under the French Mandate, 1918-1943

Sayed, Linda

My dissertation focuses on the legal recognition of the Shi'i sect by the Mandate state as a pivotal point in generating increased sectarian awareness, particularly as it related to the domain of the family. I analyze the impact this had on the space of the family during the French Mandate and the creation of the new Lebanese nation-state from 1918-1943 as growing concerns to reform Shi'i families emerged. I explore how the family became intertwined in the system of sectarianism and became vital to the understanding of Shi'as as a Lebanese sect. This study examines three sites, the Shi'i press, Ja'fari shari'a courts, and Shi'i educational institutions, in order to reveal how familial and gendered relationships were defined, performed, and constructed during this period. All three sites represent different forms of producing Shi'i families and gender relationships. By exposing the differences in these spaces, I disclose how multiple notions of masculinity and femininity were deployed in the formation of the Shi'as as a collective entity and citizens of the nation-state. By concentrating on the locus of the family, my dissertation highlights how marital and gender roles became intertwined in sectarian and national categories of practices for the Shi'i Muslims of Lebanon. This study seeks to place the family space and everyday experiences of Shi'i Muslims in the understandings and articulations of sectarian and nationalist concepts of identity. The multiple productions of Shi'i families in the press, Ja'fari shari'a court records, and Shi'i educational institutions reveal how fluid and mutable gendered, sectarian, and national modes of identification were during this period

Geographic Areas



  • thumnail for Sayed_columbia_0054D_11200.pdf Sayed_columbia_0054D_11200.pdf application/pdf 3.78 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Dabashi, Hamid
Khalidi, Rashid
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 14, 2013