This seminar will explore the emergence of new expressions and practices of gender and sexuality by contemporary Arab and Iranian intellectuals, artists, activists and leaders. Rooted in a study of the historical conditions for the emergence of this new set of discourses and practices - from pre-Islamic cultural practices to Western colonialism - the course will examine the novel and transformative forms of expression of gender and sexuality that are being invented in the Middle East and North Africa in dialogue with and in resistance to pre-existing narratives, policies and practices. From resistance to the idea of "gay identity" as a colonial-era trap and backlash against emergent gay rights movements, to the strategic complexities of appropriating the state laws supporting gender-reassignment surgery in Iran, the new generation of queer activists and intellectuals are navigating both their own histories and the limits of postcolonial discourse as they seek a liberatory art and politics. The course will dedicate significant time to studying the current work of these activists - taking up their writing, art, interviews, videos, and political tactics.