The Poetics and Politics of Mourning (IDSEM-UG 1835)

If “the past is never dead,” as Faulkner wrote, how does it continue to live on? How do its ghosts continue to haunt the political present? Can these ghosts be exorcised or does one have to learn to live with them? These questions become especially urgent and consequential in the aftermath of war and catastrophe, as writers and artists confront the legacy of violence and try to memorialize annihilated bodies and spaces. The aesthetic modes they choose to address both the dead and the living and the ways in which they narrate the past have political consequences for the future. We will explore and try to answer these questions by reading a selection of texts (fiction, poetry, film, and visual art) as sites and acts of mourning. We will read and view works from and about Armenia, South Africa, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and the US. Readings will include Benjamin, Boulus, Butler, Darwish, Derrida, Freud, Khoury, Morrison, and Youssef.

Interdisciplinary Seminars (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 15 Weeks

Sections (Fall 2022)

IDSEM-UG 1835-000 (19459)
09/01/2022 – 12/14/2022 Tue
3:00 PM – 6:00 PM (Late afternoon)
at Washington Square
Instructed by Antoon, Sinan

The Modern Arabic Novel (IDSEM-UG 1478)

Colonialism left indelible marks on the cultures and societies of its colonized subjects. While nation-states have emerged, the colonial legacy and its various effects continue to haunt post-colonial societies and the modes in which they represent their history and subjectivity. The novel is a particularly privileged site to explore this problem. This course will focus on the post-colonial Arabic novel. After a brief historical introduction to the context and specific conditions of its emergence as a genre, we will read a number of representative novels. Discussions will focus on the following questions: How do writers problematize the perceived tension between tradition and modernity? Can form itself become an expression of sociopolitical resistance? How is the imaginary boundary between “West” and “East” blurred and/or solidified? How is the nation troped and can novels become sites for rewriting official history? What role do gender and sexuality play in all of the above? In addition to films, readings (all in English) may include Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, Naguib Mahfuz, al-Tayyib Salih, Abdelrahman Munif, Ghassan Kanafani, Elias Khoury, Sun`allah Ibrahim, Huda Barakat, Assia Djebbar, and Muhammad Shukri.

Interdisciplinary Seminars (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 14 Weeks

Sections (Fall 2024)

IDSEM-UG 1478-000 (17143)
09/03/2024 – 12/12/2024 Wed
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM (Morning)
at Washington Square
Instructed by Antoon, Sinan