Literature and Memory in the Arab World



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01:013: 346-Literature and Memory in the Arab World

Yasmine Khayyat

B-309 Lucy Stone Hall (Livingston Campus)

Yasmine.khayyat@rutgers.edu

Office hours: Wednesdays 3:30-4:30pm, Thursdays 2:15-3:15pm, or by appointment
Course description
Cultural memory studies are largely dominated by western discourses of remembrance.  Scholarly attempts to come to terms with the dark side of the twentieth century at times overshadow our accounts of non-western pasts. This course opens up avenues for exploring the nexus between conflict and memory in the Arab world.  We will explore the oft-silenced memory narratives of Arab writers caught in the flux of upheaval for more than a century.  Can we formulate a discourse of memory that is both unique to the Arabic literary heritage and versatile in its application to modern times?  How do Arab writers and artists engage and/or create memory narratives in times of war?  How does fiction recreate, revise and re-examine the past?  How do our human memories and imaginations give rise to the stories we tell and to the selves that we are becoming? In this course we consider the nature of memory and its relationship to imagination, both in the evolving life of the individual and in the development of the larger group or culture. We regard the self, then, as both singular and collective, fixed and in flux, determined inwardly and shaped by external forces. This course will address these questions by tracing the interconnections between memory and literature through close readings of memoirs, novels, poems, short stories, films and graphic art.  
Course objectives

By the end of this course, students will develop a theoretical understanding of several major literary-historical movements in the Middle East and gain a sense of the richness and diversity of Arabic literary traditions more generally. Furthermore, they will be able to draw connections across these traditions through close reading and critical analysis, demonstrating both the continuities between, as well as the historical and cultural specificities of, literary tropes and concepts.

Core Curriculum Learning Goals Met by this Course
This course fulfills the SAS Core Curriculum Arts and the Humanities (AH) learning goals o and p. As regards goal o, upon completion of this course students will be able to critically evaluate philosophical and theoretical issues concerning Arabic literary expressions of memory, war, nostalgia, and imagination as seen through novels, film, essay writing, lyric poetry, drama, the novel, and the short story. As regards goal p, students will be able to analyze the production and continuation of several canonical Arabic literary traditions in relation to their specific historical, cultural contexts.

Required Texts
Course readings uploaded to the Sakai course website at https://sakai.rutgers.edu/portal
--Huyssen, Andreas. Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Cultural –

Memory in the Present. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003.

--Kanafani, Ghassan, Barbara Harlow, and Karen E. Riley. Palestine's Children : Returning to

Haifa & Other Stories. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000.

--Mosteghanemi, Ahlem. Memory in the Flesh. Cairo, Egypt: The

American University in Cairo Press, 2000.

--Sacco, Joe. Footnotes in Gaza. London: Jonathan Cape, 2009.

--Yazbik, Samar, and Max Weiss. A Woman in the Crossfire : Diaries of the Syrian Revolution.

London: Haus Pub., 2012.


Course Requirements

Attendance:

Because this is a reading-intensive and discussion-based course, attendance and participation are compulsory and will be an important component of your final grade. Each student is allowed two unexcused absences for the semester, after which your attendance grade will be lowered by a letter for each additional unexcused absence. This means that your attendance grade will drop to a B if you miss three classes and to a C if you miss four classes, and so forth.

If you expect to miss one or two classes, please use the University absence reporting website https://sims.rutgers.edu/ssra/ to indicate the date and reason for your absence. An email will automatically be sent to me.
Excused absences include religious holidays (please notify me in advance), family emergencies, transportation emergencies, health emergencies, and scheduled visits to the doctor (in which case, students should bring a note from their doctor). Students who find themselves needing to be excused for a long period of time for medical or other reasons should contact their college dean and ask the dean to notify all their professors of their absence.
Participation:

As class participation is a requirement of this course, students must come ready to discuss the texts chosen for that day. Not having read the assigned texts for class is equivalent to an absence. Please make sure to have ordered and received all the relevant texts in time for the start class. Tardiness, inattention, and not participating actively detracts from the learning experience of others and will not be tolerated.


Participation is assessed through your in-class questions and comments, completion of in-class quizzes and exercises, small group work, and office hour visits.

Reading Responses:

Every Wednesday, beginning in Week 2 (1/30), you will hand in a short (1-2 page) response paper to the reading. The purpose of these responses is to help you engage critically with the readings and to formulate questions and ideas that will inspire both class discussions, as well as your paper writing process. Each response must discuss one or more of the readings for the upcoming class and will be handed in at the beginning of class. No late responses will be accepted.

Oral Presentation:

Each student will give one 15 minute oral presentation over the course of the semester. The presentation should engage with all the readings assigned on that day, discussing their main arguments, and raise one or two guiding questions for class discussion. I strongly encourage you to come talk to me during office hours before your presentation day.


Midterm:

There will be one in class midterm exam organized around several short-answer essay questions.


Final Paper:

There will be one final paper of 5-7 pages. In advance of this paper, you will hand in an outline of your argument and supporting claims, as well as an annotated bibliography that includes at least two secondary sources. Late papers will lose one letter grade for each week they are submitted after the deadline.



Sakai

You are expected to check the Sakai site for the course as I may post additional readings, revisions to the syllabus, and course announcements.


Grading
Attendance/Participation: 20%

Reading Responses: 20%

Oral Presentation: 10%

Midterm: 20%

Final Paper (5-7 pgs): 30% (including Outline and Annotated Bibliography)
Extra Credit

You may receive extra credit (up to 2% of your final grade) by attending literature oriented extra-curricular events scheduled throughout the term. To obtain extra credit, you must 1) receive approval from me for the event in advance of the event, 2) write a one-page summary of the event, and 3) prepare a list of 4-5 critical questions prompted by the event that relate to this course. You may exercise this option only once per term.

Plagiarism
Rutgers University views plagiarism as a very serious offense. Plagiarism is the use of another person’s words, ideas, or results without giving that person appropriate credit. To avoid plagiarism, every direct quotation must be identified by quotation marks or appropriate indentation and both direct quotation and paraphrasing must be cited properly. Some common examples of plagiarism include copying something word for word (from an oral, printed, or electronic source) without proper attribution, paraphrasing without proper attribution, or submitting a purchased, downloaded, or one’s own already-submitted paper. Cases of plagiarism will be pursued following university regulations, which can be found at http://academicintegrity.rutgers.edu/integrity.shtml.
Wikipedia and other non-peer reviewed websites are not acceptable sources for papers and reading responses.
Use of Electronic Devices
Computers, cell phones, and all other technological devices (beepers, iPods, MP3 players, etc.) must be turned off during class out of respect for the instructor and fellow students.
Disability Support Services
Students who may be requesting accommodations due to disabilities are encouraged to familiarize themselves with procedures and policies regarding disability support services at the following website: http://disabilityservices.rutgers.edu/. It is recommended that students seeking accommodations begin filing paperwork as soon as possible as the documentation review process may take up to 30 business days. Students are encouraged to speak with teachers about these issues at the beginning of the term. All such conversations will be kept strictly confidential.

Reading Schedule

Please note that the following reading schedule may change according to the pace and interests of the class.

Wed 1/23

Introduction to the course


Literature and Memory

Mon 1/28

--Pamuk, Orhan. My Father’s Suitcase: The Nobel Lecture. London: Faber and Faber, 2007.

--Khoury, Elias. “The Memory of the City” in The Novel, the Novelist and the Lebanese Civil War.

Early Forms of Remembrance in the Arab World
Wed 1/30

--“Introduction” (pp. 1-10); “The Mu’allaqa of Labid” (p. 32-44); “The Mu’allaqa of Antara” (pp. 45-56) in Sells, Michael Anthony, and Abadah Alqamah ibn. Desert Tracings : Six Classic Arabian Odes. Wesleyan Poetry in Translation. 1st ed. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1989.


Modern Responses to Ancient Forms of Remembrance
The Palestinian Experience
Mon 2/4
--Fadwa Tuqan "I Will Not Cry"

--Mahmud Darwish “The Ruins of al-Birweh”


Wed 2/6

--Ghassan Kanafani “Returning to Haifa” in Palestine's Children: Returning to Haifa & Other Stories.

--Required background reading: Harlow, Barbara. Resistance Literature. New York: Methuen, 1987. Selections.

Mon 2/11

--Joe Sacco, Footnotes in Gaza. “Foreword” and pp. 30-83.

--Listen to interview with Elias Khoury (select the full interview) “The Key to Memory: An Interview with Elias Khoury” http://www.opendemocracy.net/arts-Literature/khoury_3462.jsp

--Required background reading: Makdisi, Ussama Samir, and Paul A. Silverstein. Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006. Print. ReadIntroduction” and pp. 1-24.

Wed 2/13

--Joe Sacco Footnotes in Gaza, pp. 84-119 and 377-383.

-- Abu Loghud, Lila, “The Return to Half-Ruins: Memory, Postmemory, and Living History in Palestine” in Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory.
Mon 2/18

--Film Screening “The Time That Remains” (2012, 109 minutes), Arabic with English Subtitles. Directed by Elia Suleiman.
Wed 2/20

--Makdisi, Saree. “The Architeture of Erasure.” Critical Inquiry, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Spring 2010), pp. 519-559.

--Young, James Edward. The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993. Selections

The Iraqi Experience
Mon 2/25

--Noha al-Radi, Baghdad Diaries. Selections.

-- http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com
Wed 2/27

--Fadhil al-Azzawi “Every Morning the War Gets Up from Sleep” in Iraqi Poetry Today. Translated by Saadi Simawe, Simawe, Saadi, and Daniel Weissbort. Iraqi Poetry Today. Modern Poetry in Translation New Series. London: King's College, 2003. Print, pp. 32.--Abdel Wahab al-Bayati “Who Owns the Homeland?”/“I am Born and Burn in My Love” in Simawe, Saadi, and Daniel Weissbort. Iraqi Poetry Today. Modern Poetry in Translation New Series. London: King's College, 2003, pp. 41-46.

--Required background reading: Al-Musawi, Muhsin. Arabic Poetry: Trajectories of Modernity and Tradition. Selections.

The Algerian Experience
Mon 3/4

-- Mosteghanemi, Ahlem. Memory in the Flesh. Modern Arabic Writing. Cairo, Egypt: The American University in Cairo Press, 2000. Pp. 1-80.


Wed 3/6

-- Mosteghanemi, Ahlem. Memory in the Flesh. Modern Arabic Writing. Cairo, Egypt: The American University in Cairo Press, 2000. Pp. 81-161.


Mon 3/11

-- Mosteghanemi, Ahlem. Memory in the Flesh. Modern Arabic Writing. Cairo, Egypt: The American University in Cairo Press, 2000. Pp.162-264.


Wed 3/13

--Film Screening: Pontecarvo, “The Battle of Algiers” (1966).

--Benjamin Stora, “The Algerian War in French Memory” in Memory and Violence in the Middle East, p: 151-174.
Spring Break 3/16-3/24
The Lebanese Experience
Mon 3/25

--Sune Haugbolle, War and Memory, “Prologue: A Hiatus of History” p: 1-28.

--Darwish, Mahmud, and Ibrahim Muhawi. Memory for Forgetfulness : August, Beirut, 1982. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1995, pp. 1-40.

Wed 3/27

--Darwish, Mahmud, and Ibrahim Muhawi. Memory for Forgetfulness : August, Beirut, 1982. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1995, pp. 40-80.

--Haugbolle, Sune. War and Memory in Lebanon. Cambridge Middle East Studies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Selections.
Mon 4/1

--Darwish, Mahmud, and Ibrahim Muhawi. Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1995, pp.80-160.



Wed 4/3

--Samman, Ghadah. Beirut Nightmares. London: Quartet Books, 1997.


Mon 4/8

--Film Screening, “West Beirut” (1998). Arabic with subtitles. Directed by Ziad Doueiri.


Wed 4/10

-- ‘Beyond the War? The Lebanese Postmemory Experience’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol.42, Issue 4, (Nov. 2010): 615-635.

-- Huyssen, Andreas. Present Pasts : Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory. Cultural Memory in the Present. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003. Selections.
Wed 4/15

--Paper outline and annotated bibliography due at the beginning of today’s class.

-- Selections Pamuk, Orhan, and Maureen Freely. Istanbul: Memories of a City. London: Faber and Faber, 2005.


Israeli Creative Response to War in Lebanon

Mon 4/17

--Film Screening, “Waltz with Bashir” (2009). Directed by Ari Folman.

The Arab Spring: New War, New Memories?
Mon 4/24

--Samar Yazbek, A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution.

--Background reading: Gelvin, James L. The Arab Uprisings : What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Selections.
Wed 4/29

--Samar Yazbek, A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution.

--Background reading: Gelvin, James L. The Arab Uprisings : What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Selections.
Wed 5/1

--Samar Yazbek, A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution.

--Background reading: Gelvin, James L. The Arab Uprisings : What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Selections.
Mon 5/6

--Review of course


--Final papers due


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