ARAB 402
Travel Literature in Arabic: The World through Arab/Amazigh Eyes Spring 2023
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity

Class Details

Arabic travel literature is a very rich genre that spans different periods and geographies, reflecting Arab/Amazigh writers’ understanding of themselves and the world around them. From India to Russia to Cuba and Namibia, Arabs/Amazighs have traveled the world and inscribed their observations about different people and cultures in a significant literary output. This course draws on poems, dictionary entries, short stories, novels, films, and memoirs to initiate students to the various ways Arab/Amazigh travelers–ancient and contemporary–made sense of other cultures through their experience-based or fictionalized travel accounts. Reading travel writings about West Asia, Turkey, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, students will have a complicated understanding not only of the Arabic-speaking world, but also of the forces that shaped travelers’ representations of other people and their cultures. The course will build students’ linguistic autonomy and provide them with the analytical skills they need to examine copious literary texts independently. Students enrolled in this course are required to use the language resources available on campus to improve their language skills in order to benefit maximally from the literary and intellectual opportunities offered in the texts under study.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 10
Expected: 6
Class#: 3205
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Weekly responses on Glow, active participation in class, one five-page essay, and one ten-page final paper. There is no exam in this course.
Prerequisites: 302 or equivalent.
Enrollment Preferences: Arabic major or students intending to major in Arabic. Students whose Arabic is strong enough to pursue a literary course in Arabic.
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
WS Notes: Students will improve their writing in Arabic by: 1. Writing weekly responses on Glow (500 words per week; 250 words per session) 2. One five-page essay for the mid-term 3. one ten-page final research paper
DPE Notes: The course will help students understand how travel is enmeshed in power relations and discursive production about other people. Of all literary genres, travel literature is more likely to slip into exoticism, essentialization, and overgeneralization about people and place. However, an active reading that is aware of these slippages will also open up literary texts to a rich learning about geography, politics, history, landscape, and culture.

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