Examining late twentieth-century autobiographical writing by Arab women novelists, poets, and artists, this anthology explores the ways in which Arab women have portrayed and created their identities within differing social environments. Even as the collection dismantles standard notions of Arab female subservience, the works presented here go well beyond the confines of those traditional boundaries. The book explores the many routes Arab women writers have taken to speak to each other, to their readers, and to the world at large. Drawing from a rich body of literature, the essays collectively attest to the surprisingly lively and committed roles Arab women play in varied geographic regions, at home and abroad. These recent writings assess how the interplay between individual, private, ethnic identity and the collective, public, global world of politics has impacted Arab women’s rights.
Arab Women’s Lives Retold
Exploring Identity through Writing
Nawar Al-Hassan Golley
With a foreword byMiriam Cooke
For sale only in the Middle East
Archaeology of Literature: Tracing the Old in the New
Edited by Ferial Ghazoul 75
Archaeology of Literature: Tracing the Old in the NewEdited by Ferial Ghazoul
This issue of Alif investigates the different strata constituting texts, and the presence of older material (myths, classics, hymns, rituals, romance, philosophical fragments, etc.) as subtexts in literature. Articles explore the processes and modalities of such inclusions in a given work or the corpus of an author. The issue also includes critical essays on the nature of continuity and correspondence in plots, characters, and styles as well as redeployment of older motifs in modern and postmodern works.
Contributors: English section: Walid Bitar, Leslie Croxford, Ananya Kabir, Rondo Keele, Steven Nimis, John Rodenbeck, Edward Said, Doris Shoukri, Mounira Soliman, Steffen Stelzer. Arabic section: Mohammed ‘Ajina, Mohammed Birairi, Ayman Al-Desouky, Hasab al-Sheikh Ja‘far, Scheherazade Hassan, Sami Mahdi, Samia Mehrez, Mai Muzaffar/Rafa Nasiri, Lamis Al-Nakkash/Doris Shoukri, Nagwa Sha‘ban....read more
The University and Its Discontents: Egyptian and Global Perspectives
Edited by Robert Switzer 75
The University and Its Discontents: Egyptian and Global PerspectivesEdited by Robert Switzer
This issue of Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics explores how universities have always borne the task of questioning, and how the role and status of the university itself has been put into question: the very idea of a university has been open to contestation, revision, and crisis. In today’s world, how do universities preserve their capacity for social critique and independent thought when their campuses and research facilities have been both literally and figuratively infiltrated by corporate interests and “support”? How does the tradition of the liberal arts square with today’s technically—and vocationally—minded students? How do the university’s institutions and ideals, born in Medieval cultures inspired by classical learning, fare in a world where everything, education included, is computer mediated, virtualized, globalized? What is the role of literature in this struggle for identity, given that so many writers now make universities their professional home? Original articles addressing a variety of issues from differing disciplinary and theoretical points of view are included in this volume, illuminating higher education concerns in Egypt and the rest of the world. Contributors: Steve Nimis, Sara Nimis, Henry Giroux, Steve Germic, Karyn Ball, Barbara Harlow, John Kress, Peter Cook, Bob Frodeman, Bruce Foltz, Jennifer Rowland, Magda Hasabelnaby, Bayoumi Kandil, Muhsin Mahdi, Doaa Embabi, Madiha Doss, Mohammed Abul Ghar, Ali Mabrouk, Nasr Abu Zayd, Faten Morsy, Mona Tolba, Anwar Moghith, Kamal Mougheeth, Samy Soliman....read more
The Language of the Self: Autobiographies and Testimonies
Edited by Ferial Ghazoul 75
The Language of the Self: Autobiographies and TestimoniesEdited by Ferial Ghazoul
Autobiography is a protean genre: it covers so many forms and styles. When narrating one’s life, the narrator has to choose what he or she considers to be relevant and decisive. Beside the differences on what is fundamental in a life, the notion of the Self is culturally defined and thus varies from one place to another. The author of an autobiographical text may express only a fragment of his or her life, follow a thread in the trajectory through reminiscences, memoir, diaries, testimony, interview, letters, poems, etc. The author may declare openly that he or she is identical with the protagonist or may give the principal character a different name or no name. The author may depict private or public events, at times taking imaginative license or even including fantastic motifs. Autobiographical discourse is not only culturally conditioned; it is also symptomatic of the cultural moment. Thus it is important to explore the varieties of self-presentation, and not assume a fixed paradigm.
In this revisionist spirit that looks for different and alternative ways of recording one’s life, Alif presents the autobiographical drive in multiple contexts: ancient and contemporary Egyptian; nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Arab, Moroccan, and Iraqi; South African and West African; Canadian and American; Palestinian and Sudanese; English and Irish; and even that of a hybrid background Chinese American and Algerian French. There has been a tremendous surge in autobiographical writing in recent years, and the field has been redefined by literary and cultural critics.
From James Olney (ed.), Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical (1980) to Dwight Reynolds (ed.), Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition (2001), a range of works have appeared challenging established views and approaches on the subject of autobiography. The epigraphs (whose English translation is drawn from the works mentioned above) attest to the complexity and diversity of motivations in writing about one’s past life....read more
Friendship: Representations and Cultural Variations
Edited by Ferial Ghazoul 75
Friendship: Representations and Cultural VariationsEdited by Ferial Ghazoul
Friendship, though esteemed, has not been central in critical studies. It has been overshadowed by other bonding relationships. However, it figures as a privileged theme in classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern philosophy. More recently, sociological, anthropological, and psychological studies have explored the varied dimensions of friendship. Different cultures view friendship in various perspectives that intersect, contrast, and echo each other. In Middle Eastern, East Asian, European, and American thought, philosophers, jurists, and creative writers have explored the idea of friendship and their input is analyzed in this issue. Alif 36 foregrounds different ways of presenting friendship in diverse cultures and historical periods....read more
8 December 2016