ENVI 208
Saharan Imaginations Spring 2019
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed ENVI 208 / ARAB 209 / COMP 234
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Literary representations of the Sahara challenge facile assumptions about this undertheorized place. Literature furnishes a unique opportunity to gain more awareness of the organization of life in the desert and the ways in which its inhabitants have found harmony between their humanity and the Sahara’s biodiversity. This course offers students the opportunity to engage in close readings of novels through the theme of the Sahara and Saharan space. Reading through the ethics of human mobility and actions in the desert will help students to understand how myth, memory, history, coloniality/postcoloniality, and a strong sense of ethics are deeply intertwined in the Sahara sub-genre of Maghrebi and Middle Eastern literature. Whether grappling with transcontinental issues of climate change, biodiversity cannibalization or overexploitation of natural resources, the Saharan novel invites us to think critically about the politics of space and place as well as mobility and spatial control as they relate to this supposedly dead nature. Students will be initiated to the ecocritical dimension of Maghrebi and Arabic literature and the discourses underlying it through the prism of the Sahara.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 15
Class#: 3316
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation, short presentation, short weekly responses on GLOW, midterm exam, and final paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Arabic Studies majors and certificate students
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: DPE: Students will gain critical awareness of the imbrication of power, hegemony, economic injustice, and colonial policies in the disruption of indigenous conceptions of the Saharan space. Students will also be able to question representations of the Sahara as a dead or empty space by engaging with locally produced alternative conceptualizations of place. Finally, students will produce written assignments that address issues of power and environmental discrimination.
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI 208 Division I ARAB 209 Division I COMP 234 Division I

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