[P4842] Rethinking the Maghreb: Liminality and Transversal Connections

Created by Brahim El Guabli
Monday, 11/20/17 1:00pm


Situated between the Arab East, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the Atlantic, the Maghreb occupies an interstitial position, which serves both as a point of convergence and a site of permanent departure towards other aesthetic horizons (immigration, invasion, trade, scholarship). While the question of modernity vs tradition was central to Les Temps Modernes' 1977 special issue entitled Du Maghreb, scholarly anxiety in recent years has shifted significantly to refiguring the meaning of being a Maghrebi author, navigating multiple languages and occupying different geographical homes. The existence of novelists, such as Laila Lalami, Ibrahim al-Koni and Amara Lakhous, who write from unconventional locations (US, Italy, Switzerland/Spain), undermines any attempt to fix the nature of Maghrebi literature in a specific language or territorial entity. Maghrebi authors and their literary production do not only inhabit different literary worlds, but, like the Maghreb itself, they also constantly negotiate their multilayered idenities in these worlds. This panel seeks to capitalize on the Maghreb's liminality to shed light on the complexity of questions of transversality, transnational inspirations, circulation, intellectual dialogues and translation in Maghrebi literature. Our engagement with this topic will open up a new discursive space in which foregrounding these hidden links will contribute significantly to the redefinition/rethinking of the literary Maghreb. Additionally, bringing these multidisciplinary questions to the attention of Arabic scholars will generate a much-needed dialogue about the ways in which these transnational connections have informed and continue to inform—and transform—Maghrebi aesthetics in their diverse expressions and languages.

“Transversality and Translation in Moroccan Contemporary Poetry” reads Moroccan contemporary poetry for the “auditory traces” left by its authors and translators, as well as for the transversal relations of style imprinted there. “Beyond Binaries: the Maghreb after Post-Colonialism” explores the ways in which Maghrebi cultural producers and intellectuals looked in multiple directions both for inspiration and/or resistance, which inform their works. “Tanger to Havana: Race, Jazz and Urban Dystopia” looks at the culture wars and propaganda battles that played out in northern Morocco during the early Cold War, between Cuba, Spain, Egypt and the US and the ways in which they informed literature between Arabic and Spanish, Hispanism and Arabism, and brought the Americas to the Maghreb and vice-versa. "Sounding the Maghreb in the Nahda: Nineteenth-Century Arabic/European Language Politics at the Interstices" probes the roles of Maghrebi intellectuals in rethinking the literary nah?a, usually identified with the Mashriq, from the position of the Maghreb.


American Association of Teachers of Arabic (AATA)





Deborah A. Kapchan

(New York University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Shaden M. Tageldin

(University of Minnesota)
Shaden M. Tageldin is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature and Director of the African Studies Initiative at the University of Minnesota. Focusing on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literatures in Arabic, English, and French,...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Hisham Aidi

(Research Scholar, Columbia University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Brian T. Edwards

(Northwestern Univ)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Naima Hachad

(American University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Brahim El Guabli

(Princeton University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer;