ARAB 252
Arab Women Memoirs: Writing Feminist History Fall 2021
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed WGSS 251 / COMP 252 / ARAB 252

Class Details

This course reviews selected autobiographical writings by Arab women writers from the wave of independence in the 20th century to the contemporary Arab uprisings, passing through all the transformations that globalization and the technosphere have instigated. We will examine the role that first-voice narrative plays in shaping literature, history and thought, while providing a space to reclaim cultural, social and political agency. Focusing on the different articulations of self-representation, our discussion will address how these women reflect on the shifting discourses of identities, gender, nationalism, religion, feminism, sexuality, politics, borders and their histories. Questions we will address include: How did these memoirs contribute to the development of Arab feminist consciousness? In addition to the memoirs, we will look at women’s blogs and watch films that focus on first-person narrative to discuss related topics, such as, visual testimonies, virtual political participation and feminist resistance in the technosphere. Required texts may include: Fadwa Tuqan (A Mountainous Journey: An Autobiography), Fatima Mernissi (Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood), Radwa Ashour (The Journey), Fadia Faqir and Shirley Eber (In the House of Silence: Autobiographical Essays by Arab Women Writers), and Assia Djebar (Fantasia), as well as critical essays and selections from autobiographical writings that reflect the diversity of Arab women in the Middle East and the diaspora.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 2002
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: students will write the following: three response papers (2-3 pages), at least 6 journal entries (300 words per entry) and a final analytical research essay (7-10 pages). They will have a final performance project.
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Arabic Studies majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 251 Division II COMP 252 Division I ARAB 252 Division I
WS Notes: In addition to writing several short papers, a final research paper, a reflection on their final performance project, students will write six journals. The combination of research writing, personal reflection echoes the creative non-fiction genre of the course. It also provides students with the opportunity to reflect on forms of history/memory writing.
DPE Notes: Gender inequality, sexism, and the intersection of colonialism, nationalism and capitalism are the heart of this course. The memoirs of Arab women writers from the late 19th century to the present continue to depict the history of women's movement and the struggle for women's rights in the Arab-speaking world while addressing the different hierarchies of power and domination that regulate them to second class citizens. Students will learn DPE vocabulary and critical terminology.
Attributes: WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses

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