SUMMARY: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).