The Creation of the Hyper-Masculine World: The White Man’s Modern State and the Sedimentation of Binaries

Aliah Mohamed Yacoub


This research identifies a specific constellation of historical and phenomenological factors that have contributed to the rise of the hypermasculine modern state and, by extension, the monolithic image of the oppressed Muslim woman. The goal of this project is to establish a causative link between the gender binaries used in the conception of the modern state—marking modern states and politics as exclusively masculine arenas—during the colonization era and the current stagnant image of the Muslim woman in the habituated visual field of Westerners. This is done through an exploration of the gendered undertones of the modern state, a recapitulation of colonial literature that highlights how the binaries were transported to Arab colonies, and an assessment of its effects on the over-determined image of Muslim women in our current context by employing case studies of French Algeria and France today to solidify and cement the argument. Instead of tracing the tangible genealogy of that construction or offering a trajectory that is historically grounded, as many post-colonial critiques have proposed, this research adopts a phenomenological lens with which we can see anew the repercussions of colonial epistemology on the Muslim woman today.


Phenomenology; Modern State Masculinities; Post-colonialism; Arab World; Perceptual Habits

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