Sex, France, and Arab Men, 1962-1979

Sex, France, and Arab Men, 1962-1979

Todd Shepard

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780226493275

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book is a history of how and why, from Algeria’s independence from France in 1962 through the cultural and social upheaval of the 1970s, highly sexualized claims about “Arabs” were omnipresent in important public discussions in France, both those that dealt with sex and those that spoke of Arabs. The ongoing consequences of the Algerian war, the so-called sexual revolution, and the worldwide anticolonial movement of the mid-twentieth century contributed to the development of the fight for sexual liberation. Indeed, the French sexual revolution was distinguished from similar movements of the time by the fact that the attention given to Algerian sexuality made the political, as opposed to natural, nature of sexuality more apparent. The author uses historical accounts and primary sources such as news reports and propaganda throughout the book to demonstrate perceptions of Arab presence in French political development during the time. Ultimately, Shepard argues that the reason so many people in general spoke about sex and Arab men in the 1960s and 1970s was a foundational problem in French politics, which Algerian independence crystallized, and also that the sequence of political events during that time was inextricably intertwined with the claims of and discussions on Algerian sexuality.