This paper examines the dynamics of queer socio-geographic landscapes in Damascus, Syria. These spaces, which I call queer scenes, situate multiple queer practices, social networks, meanings, and affects. Based on ethnographic data, this paper considers how men inhabit, move between, and disavow these scenes in ways that produce the collective makings for differentiated queer subjectivities. I propose the notion of queer sensibilities as the affective, relational, and subjective modes men use to navigate these collective and contested queer scenes. This paper argues for examining socio-sexual difference by the imbrication of affect, subjecthood, queer performances, social networks, and normative structures within urban spaces that make up a total social terrain of different manners of living a life in Damascus.

A version of this paper won Honorable Mention, 2014 MES Student Paper Prize, Middle East Section of the American Anthropology Association.

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The Many scenes of queer damascus

kohl: journal for body & gender research