CFP: [Medieval] Arabic Literature Now: Between Area Studies and the New Comparatism

full name / name of organization: 
Wail S. Hassan
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Arabic Literature Now: Between Area Studies and the New Comparatism
A Special issue of Comparative Literature Studies
Edited by Amal Amireh and Waïl S. Hassan

Interest in Arabic literature in the United States has been sparked by Naguib Mahfouz's winning
of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1988, by multiculturalism, and by postcolonial studies,
particularly Edward Said's critical legacy. But in recent years, this interest has intensified because
of the two Gulf wars, 9/11, and the on-going “War on terror.” Studying Arabic literature in the
American academy and beyond cannot be abstracted from a context of Middle East politics and is
taking place in the shadow of a “clash of civilization” ideology that posits the Arab and Muslim
worlds as the dangerous other of western civilization.

As editors of a special issue of Comparative Literature Studies devoted to Arabic literature, we
are seeking papers that take into account the complex contexts in which Arabic literature is
being studied outside the Arab world at this historical juncture. Among the questions we are
interested in are the following: What is the status of Arabic literary studies today? Has Arabic
studies freed itself from the legacy of Orientalism? What is the impact of postcolonial theory on
Arabic literary studies? What is the place of Arabic literature in the new articulations of
comparative literature (from Gayatri Spivak’s Death of a Discipline to Haun Saussy’s Comparative
Literature in an Age of Globalization) and world literature (e.g. Franco Moretti, David Damrosch,
Pascale Casanova)? What roles have postcolonial theory, feminist theory, translation theory, and
reception theory played, or can play, in such articulations? What are the points of contact
between Arabic literature and those of Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Australia? How do
issues of gender, sexuality, war, nationalism, globalization, and human rights figure in Arabic
literature today? What are the pedagogical implications and challenges of the current interest in
Arabic literature and culture?

We invite articles that reflect on these and related questions in connection with Arabic-language
texts written in the Arab world and elsewhere as well as texts by Arab writers of Dutch, English,
French, German, Hebrew, Portuguese, and Spanish expression.

The issue is scheduled to appear in late 2010. Completed papers will need to be submitted no
later than 30 January 2009. 500-word proposals and brief CV are due by 30 September 2008 to
Amal Amireh and Waïl S. Hassan Contributions should
conform to CLS style, and be between 6000 and 10,000 words. See the CLS style guide at
 http://cl for further information.

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Received on Tue Jun 17 2008 - 22:15:21 EDT

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