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Roger Friedland
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Roger Friedland works on sex, politics, and God. He has taught and done research in both Rome and Jerusalem. His book, Amore: An American Father’s Roman Holiday, comparing the erotic culture of Rome and southern California, was just published by Harper Perrennial in November, 2014.

He blogs on "Amore":

Friedland is Visiting Professor, Media, Culture and Communication, New York University and Professor of Cultural Sociology with a joint appointment in the Departments of Religious Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Under the auspices of UCSB Friedland, together with Janet Afary and Paolo Gardinali, he is working on the relation between religiosity, gender and intimate life in Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Tunisia and Iran. He is also writing on the erotic culture of American university students.

Friedland is the co-author of To Rule Jerusalem, with Richard Hecht, about the fraught relation between religion and nationalism in the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians for this sacred city. He also co-authored The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship, with Harold Zellman. His articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers in Italy, Germany, France, Hungary, and the United States.

Entries by Roger Friedland

Walk Like an Egyptian: Welcome to Passover, 2016

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 9:41 AM

In 1965 I wore chinos and was still getting pimples as I shuffled my feet and rocked my butt back and forth to "Wooly Bully." I was eighteen when Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs sang out: "Hatty told Matty, Let's don't take no chance. Let's not be L-seven, come...

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Getting to Rome

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 6:45 PM

If you are lucky, you will enter a city that enters you, a place that possesses you and makes you feel alive. Rome was like that for me. I was a graduate student in the 1970's when I fell in love with its ironic delights, its human tissue, its unkempt...

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Virgin Homicides: The Matrix of Elliot Rodger's Mass Murder in Santa Barbara

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 8:58 AM

Elliot Rodger murdered six students at my university, UC Santa Barbara. Horror sometimes offers us a mirror. Looking at the pathological forces us to examine the normal. In our country, the normal means men's guns and women's bodies.

The event again reminds us that the United States is great at...

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Turkey's Body Politics: Can Turkish Democracy Survive?

(0) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 6:11 PM

In collaboration with his NYU Abu Dhabi seminar students


Millions of secular Turks voted for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Everyone was keeping an eye on Turkey, hopeful that this country would show the way that liberal democracy and political Islam might...

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The Politics of a Kiss: Islam and Intimate Life in Turkey

(12) Comments | Posted June 4, 2013 | 12:03 PM

It is one thing for the AKP to ban alcohol or close down gay clubs. It is another to try to cordon off kissing. A kiss is a verb in the language of love. For a conservative regime that seeks to make Islam the basis of public morality and the...

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When Women Fear to Tread: Sexual Violence and the Egyptian Revolution

(6) Comments | Posted February 13, 2013 | 12:55 PM

The body politic is at risk in Egypt. On the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution -- Jan. 25 -- in a demonstration in Tahrir Square, a woman protester was violently set upon by a mob of men who grabbed at her private parts, pulling and pushing her from person...

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When Enemies Make a Common World: Hamas, Netanyahu and the Israel-Gaza War

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 7:53 AM

The worst enemies can make the best allies. In 1993 Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn after having signed the Oslo Accords. It is the political enemies of Rabin and Arafat who are now making their common hateful history. The two rejectionist forces --...

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Sex Is Not a Secular State: Love and Politics in Turkey

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2012 | 12:42 PM

By Roger Friedland, in collaboration with his seminar students

One's sex is never just one's own. Our sex participates in creation, God's inestimable gift. Wherever religion seeks to shape social life, sex is always a space of acute concern, a battlefield.

Turkey, like many countries where Islam and blue jeans...

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Islam, Gender and Democracy in Turkey

(6) Comments | Posted December 29, 2011 | 5:26 AM

in collaboration with his NYU-AD seminar

Secular republicans saw, and some still see, the woman's headscarf -- interpreted by pious Muslims as a religious obligation -- as the wedge by which Islamic law will enter the Turkish republic. One practice, its secular critics...

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Muslim Lite: Women, Islam and the Turkish Way

(15) Comments | Posted December 20, 2011 | 9:09 AM

in collaboration with his NYU-AD seminar


"They are trying to make Istanbul into Teheran," an old man tells me on the street. This beautiful city that hinges Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus lives its private contradictions in public space....

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Looking Through the Bushes: The Disappearance of Pubic Hair

(34) Comments | Posted June 13, 2011 | 2:47 PM

Photography by Sarah Friedland

"Beaver!" "Beaver up the stairs." Some guy in chinos at my Los Angeles public high school would shout out as an up-skirt view opened on a staircase. In the 1960's, a high school girl's pubic hair marked the site we...

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Why Do We Hate Them Now? Anti-Islamic Feelings Nine Years After 9/11

(83) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 4:58 AM

Why is there so much anti-Muslim sentiment just now, nine years after September 11?

(I was asked this by a Brazilian journalist, Manuela Franceschini, who writes for Veja, a Brazilian magazine. I have been working on politicized religion for many years. This is how I answered her.)

I cannot...

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Guilty Pleasures: Religion and Sex Among American University Students

(29) Comments | Posted July 20, 2010 | 11:53 AM


Hey God, is that you in my underpants? Does the nature of the God students believe in, and the kind of religious community they come from, make a difference in their sex lives?

University students today came of age during...

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God, Sex and Love on American Campuses

(199) Comments | Posted May 24, 2010 | 11:54 PM

The sex is hot, but the heart is cold. Undergraduate men today have more "fuck buddies" than dates. A college date is a rare phenomenon, not unlike seeing a California condor in the 1980s.

I now know who does what sexually to whom among university students, and under what...

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