WGSS 368
Arab Women Writers: Remapping Urban Narratives
Last Offered Fall 2017
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 368 / ARAB 368 / WGSS 368
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

In “The Lover of Blue Writing above the Sea,” (1995) a poem written to console a lover after the death of his beloved, Syrian poet, Ghada al-Samman, pens: “If you are sad and burn the edge of my book/I shall come to you/like the genie in my grandmother’s Damascene stories…” As these lines imply, the fantastic grandmother’s Damascene stories have the power to equally amend broken hearts and restore memories of loss. In this course, we will adopt “the grandmother’s Damascene stories” as a conceptual metaphor that guides our line inquiry into the intersection of Arab women’s narrative and the city. We will read novels and short stories by Arab women writers about cities and capitals in the Arab world and the diaspora. The goal of this course is not only to familiarize students with prominent Arab women novelists, such as Hoda Barakat, Radwa Ashur, Liana Badr, Raja’a Alem, Alia Mamdouh, and Ahlam Mosteghanemi, among others, but also to introduce them to the literary and visual cartography of Beirut, Granada (via Cairo), Ramallah, Mecca, Baghdad, and Constantine, respectively. We will also read short stories about other cities in the world, such as New York, Paris, London, Buenos Aires and Tokyo among other world metropolis. Questions we will address include: How does the city appear as a protagonist? How do Arab women novelists represent nationhood, modernity, memory, love, war, sexuality and religion, among other themes, in their construction of urban narratives? How do these narratives map an Arab feminist metropolis? How do Arab women writers represent cities beyond the Arab world? To answer these questions, we will also look at Arab women’s blogs and watch films that focus on the city as a site for spatial articulation of national histories, popular revolutions, and feminist public spheres.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 15
Class#: 1288
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, several short response papers, three short papers (3-5 pages), a final performance project, and a final paper (7-10 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Arabic Studies majors and Comparative Literature majors
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 368 Division I ARAB 368 Division I WGSS 368 Division II
Attributes: GBST Middle Eastern Studies Electives

Class Grid

Updated 1:12 am

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