May 27, 2024  
Catalogue 2023-2024 
Catalogue 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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AFRS 105 - The Self and the Western Other in Modern Arabic Literature

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
The cultural “encounter with the West” is a major theme in modern Arabic literature and culture broadly. In this course, we read and discuss an array of novels, novellas, and short stories that depict personal and collective histories of encounter between Arab and African postcolonial subjects and the West, both at home and in the diaspora.  We also watch and discuss a selection of documentary and feature films by North African and Middle East directors that dramatize this encounter and explore its consequences on both parties. The course materials familiarize students with a long history of mutual othering and stereotyping, and help them to cross-examine enduring orientalist and colonialist representations of Arab and Islamic otherness in western literary and cultural discourses. Students develop a better understanding of the region’s cultural complexity as well as its paradoxes, and its unresolved relationship to a western global modernity that it continues to debate and contest while it also admires. The readings include critical excerpts from Edward Said’s Orientalism, Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks, Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism, and literary works such as Assia Djebar’s Fantasia, an Algerian Cavalcade, and Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, among others. Mootacem Mhiri.

Two 75-minute periods.

Course Format: CLS

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