[P4862] The Beast in Image, Text and Politics

Created by Tarek El-Ariss
Monday, 11/20/17 3:30pm


Activating a dialogue that connects the local and the transnational, historical representations with contemporary ones, this panel explores the figure of the beast, the monster, the hybrid creature, and the wretch in Arab-Islamic art and literature. Conceived either as extraordinary individual or marvelous species, the beast is present in Ahmad Saadawi's Frankenstein in Baghdad novel, on medieval metalware, across contemporary media reports of brutal autocrats, and within eschatological traditions and practices. From the lovelorn desert encampments of Jahili Arabia to the urban ruins of contemporary Homs, the beast (re)materializes today, adopting different figures and forms that are grafted upon existing discourses of natural order, religion, race, and otherness. Spectacularly haunting the Arab political landscapes, the beast is either relegated to the margins or is defiantly emerging from a corrupted and/or corrupting center. The papers in this panel seek to lay out possible histories of the beast by investigating notions of contamination, violence, hybridity, phobia, paranoia, anxiety, and demonization on the one hand, and the beast's relation to religious, scientific and political authorities, on the other.






Tarek El-Ariss

(Dartmouth College)
Tarek El-Ariss is Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Dartmouth College. He is the author of Trials of Arab Modernity: Literary Affects and the New Political (Fordham University Press) and editor of The Arab Renaissance: Bilingual Anthology...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Jeannie Miller

(University of Toronto)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Benjamin Koerber

(Rutgers University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Khaled Malas

(Institute of Fine Arts, New York University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer; Presenter;