Tahar Ben Jelloun's novel L'enfant de sable proposes that gender is a colonization of the body. This essay considers that proposition by placing it in a theoretical dialogue with postcolonial and gender studies and analyzing it in the context of Morocco. I critique the language of natural development common to both gender and colonization, examining its processes of abjection, reliance on distinct genres, and dependence on "style." Arguing that Ben Jelloun's proposition is an invitation to scrutinize the historical specificities of colonization, I turn to an investigation of the Moroccan protectorate, to the ideological work done by its terminological distinction from colonization and the material and discursive forms of its implementation. These specificities, I argue, disclose significant nuances in the way gender operates: as a protective envelope from its own disciplinary effects, a safeguard from uncertainty, and an inculcation of desire subtended by violence.


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pp. 136-160
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