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Between Modernity and Empire: The Multilingual Arab Novel

Between Modernity and Empire: The Multilingual Arab Novel

New course in Winter 2008 taught by Nouri Gana

This course examines an eclectic selection of Arab novels in the English original and in English translation from Arabic and French by, among others, Diana Abu-Jaber (English), Tahar Ben Jelloun (French), and Tayeb Salih (Arabic). The course aims to develop a fresh understanding of the Arab world as it is complexly represented by a number of Arab authors writing in different languages and living in many different parts of the world, including the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Given that for the last two centuries the Arab World has succumbed to European imperialism and to its revolutionizing effects on every aspect of life (i.e., economic, cultural and social), the course will pay particular attention to the ways in which Arab authors have dramatized and come to terms (if indeed they have) with the weight of the colonial legacy and the more urgent demands of/for globalization, modernity, modernization and development. The course will mix thematic and formal analyses of literary texts, and will also make use of a few documentary films in order to both approximate and complicate literary representation.

Comparative Literature 191, Seminar 3, Thursdays, 2:00–4:50 PM, Humanities A40 (152-846-202)

Nouri Gana
is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature & Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. For further information about the course, contact him at

Center for Near Eastern Studies