Khatibi and His Jews: Constructions of the Figure of the Jew in Abdelkébir Khatibi's Writings

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A lecture with Brahim El Guabli (Williams College)

The “figure of the Jew” permeates Abdelkébir Khatibi’s work and theorizations of identity. Even when the topic is not directly related to Jews, there is always a Jewish figure that lurks in the background of Khatibi’s writing and informs some of his key concepts. Indeed, Khatibi grappled with, imagined, and reimagined the Jew even as he was engineering his conceptualizations of bi-langue, pensée-autre (1983), fluid identity, and étranger professionnel (al-gharīb al-muḥtarif/professional foreigner/stranger). This talk will draw on Khatibi's exchanges with Jacques Derrida and Jacques Hassoun as well as his novelistic output to analyze how Khatibi has engaged with the figure of the Jew in his writing.

Brahim El Guabli is an Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies and Comparative Literature at Williams College. His first book manuscript, under review, is entitled Moroccan Other-Archives: Jews, Berbers, and Political Prisoners Rewrite the Post-1956 Moroccan Nation. He is at work on a second book project entitled Saharan Imaginations: Saharanism from Mild to Wild. His journal articles have appeared in Interventions, the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, Arab Studies Journal, META, and the Journal of North African Studies, among others. He is co-editor of Lamalif: A Critical Anthology of Societal Debates in Morocco During the “Years of Lead” (1966-1988) (Liverpool University Press, forthcoming) and Refiguring Loss: Jews in Maghrebi and Middle Eastern Cultural Production (Pennsylvania State University Press, forthcoming).

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Published: Tuesday, May 4, 2021