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Between Rites and RightsExcision in Women's Experiential Texts and Human Contexts$
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Chantal Zabus

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804756877

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804756877.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

The Sealed Condition

The Sealed Condition

From the Beginnings to Freud and Herzi

(p.147) Seven The Sealed Condition
Between Rites and Rights
Stanford University Press

Excision in all of its forms is distributed on the African continent along two axes intersecting in Sudan: an east-west axis from Yemen to Senegal and a north-south axis from Egypt to Tanzania. Today, infibulation is still practiced in parts of Somalia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mali, and Chad, and Mali. Hence, “the sealed condition” arising from infibulation is evoked as a common practice, if not a rite of passage per se, by Somali women writers such as Saïda Hagi-Dirie Herzi. Infibulation is known as Sudanese circumcision in Egypt and pharaonic circumcision in other parts of Africa, particularly Sudan. Herzi's short story “Against the Pleasure Principle” (1992) conflates infibulation in the Horn of Africa, Freudian psychoanalysis, and Western obstetrics. It not only raises the issue of obstetrical complications, but also indirectly tackles female sexual pleasure. In her text, Herzi engages Sigmund Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle ([1919] 1953).

Keywords:   excision, Africa, infibulation, Saïda Hagi-Dirie Herzi, Against the Pleasure Principle, psychoanalysis, obstetrics, sexual pleasure, Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle

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