Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Awards
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Department of Near Eastern Studies
2019 Winner (Humanities)
Writing in Cairo: Literary Networks and the Making of Egypt's Nineties Generation
Nancy Linthicum’s dissertation combines literary analysis with what might be called the sociology of culture. It places a generation of Egyptian writers from the 1990s within a broader constellation of cultural production and consumption, taking a critical look at the complex dynamics of interaction between the creators of literary productions and the institutional actors that enable and mediate the dissemination of these productions. It also contains an extended analysis of gender in both thematic and structural terms. In the words of one reviewer, the dissertation “paints a rich and variegated picture of the unexpected ways in which cultural institutions such as publishing houses, journals, and literary prizes shape the work of writers operating within a rapidly changing national context.” The dissertation is outstanding in its originality, notably for its theoretical insights, which are of a variety not normally used in the study of modern Arabic literature, and for the great effect to which it draws on its sources, which include numerous interviews as well as the reading of journals as well as novels. The dissertation is also beautifully written. The author's theoretical and interpretive scheme may well be of interest to scholars of comparative literature and world literature as well as to scholars of Middle East Studies.
The dissertation was completed at the University of Michigan in the Department of Near Eastern Studies, under the supervision of Associate Professor Carol Bardenstein.
2019 Review Committee
Mark Sedgwick (chair), Aarhus University
Michelle Campos, University of Florida
Liat Kozma, Hebrew University
Erik S. Ohlander, Purdue University