Course Descriptions

01:013:346 Literature and Memory in the Arab World, Spring 2017

Course Offered: Spring 2017

Cultural memory studies are largely dominated by western discourses of remembrance. Scholarly attempts to come to terms with the dark side of the twentieth century at times overshadow our accounts of non-western pasts. This course opens up avenues for exploring the nexus between conflict and memory in the Arab world. We will explore the oft-silenced memory narratives of Arab writers caught in the flux of upheaval for more than a century. Can we formulate a discourse of memory that is both unique to the Arabic literary heritage and versatile in its application to modern times? How do Arab writers and artists engage and/or create memory narratives in times of war? How does fiction recreate, revise and re-examine the past? How do our human memories and imaginations give rise to the stories we tell and to the selves that we are becoming? In this course we consider the nature of memory and its relationship to imagination, both in the evolving life of the individual and in the development of the larger group or culture. We regard the self, then, as both singular and collective, fixed and in flux, determined inwardly and shaped by external forces. This course will address these questions by tracing the interconnections between memory and literature through close readings of memoirs, novels, poems, short stories, films and graphic art.

This course satisfies the SAS Core Curriculum Goals "Philosophical and Theoretical Issues" (AHo) and "Arts and Literatures" (AHp).