[P6341] Women Writers: Literary Interventions in Arab History and Politics

Created by Brady Ryan
Friday, 12/03/21 2:00 pm


We are concerned with Arabic literary engagements with twentieth-century history and politics authored by women. In light of how socialism and anti-colonial nationalisms have given way to right-wing nationalisms, ethno-religious fundamentalisms, state violence, and civil wars over the second half of the twentieth century and the first decades of the twenty-first, we turn to women’s writing to interrogate, reimagine, mourn, and reframe past notions of political commitment and national or communal belonging. Women, whose symbolic and moral value lay at the heart of the ‘national allegory’ underlying a generation of Arabic literature and film, are paradoxically considered marginal figures when it comes to authoring political, historical, and literary narratives; women are often asterisks to men’s history, literature, and politics. Therefore, we seek to center women’s interventions in these fields.

We seek papers on works of literature (novels, poetry, memoirs) or literary criticism that either interrupt twentieth-century politics and history or make them significant to the present in novel ways. We are particularly interested in papers that address literary engagements with history and politics through any of the following ways: love and loss; memory, mourning, and melancholia; narrative voice or language use.
The approach is comparative. Comparisons are not merely methodological, but also epistemological, i.e., a way of seeing the world (Hallaq 2020). It is led by the theoretical understanding that language is dialogic and heteroglossic (Bakhtin 1981).


Lit; Lit



Camelia Suleiman

(Michigan State University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Levi Thompson

(University of Texas at Austin)
Levi Thompson is Assistant Professor of Persian and Arabic Literatures at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously, he was Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Artemis A.W. and Martha Joukowsky Postdoctoral...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Brady Ryan

Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Michael Ernst

(New York University)
Michael received his BA from Bard College in 2014 and MA in Near Eastern Studies from NYU in 2019. Prior to pursuing his PhD in Comparative Literature at NYU, Michael worked as Political Economy Project Coordinator for the Arab Studies Institute. Michael's...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Stephanie Kraver

(The University of Chicago)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Rebecca Forney

(Binghamton University (SUNY))
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;