Hannah Cowdell

Department: Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
Discipline: Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies

Project Summary

My doctoral project ethnographically and historically investigates the influence of legal- administrative, medical and socio-religious constructions of gender upon the legal and medical policy landscapes traversed by Lebanese transgender individuals in pursuit of medical treatment and legal gender recognition. The impact of navigating these administrative processes on transgender self- cognition will be considered, as well as the agency of transgender individuals in influencing policy through interactions with the judicial and healthcare systems. The methodological approach of the project will be grounded in the anthropology of policy and law, taking the examination of health and legal policy as a starting point to consider local ‘moral meanings’ of gender-affirming legal and medical procedures and the way in which such perceptions engage with the ‘technoscape’ of global health. The adoption of an interdisciplinary approach, inclusive of archival research, will further allow a tracing of historical evolutions in societal and medical approaches to gender and gender dysphoria, permitting a consideration of the impact of colonial interventions on the codification of legal gender and its attendant rights and the role of medical psychiatry in defining the boundaries of the gender binary.

Supervisory Team

Dr Maziyar Ghiabi


Professor Manuela Barreto

Wider Research Interests

Gender and Sexuality

Decolonial, transdisciplinary and participatory approaches to research

Medical humanities