EUME Fellows 2016/2017
is a Cairo-based Literary scholar. She received her PhD in Arabic literature from SOAS, University of London (2016) with a dissertation on Muhammad al-Muwailihi’s “Hadith Isa Ibn Hisham” and her MA in Comparative Literature from King’s College London (2011). She holds a BA from the American University in Cairo, where she majored in English and Comparative Literature with a minor in Philosophy. Her work is at the intersection of literature, history, and Arabic conceptual thought.
During her time at EUME, she will be working on turning her doctoral thesis into a book manuscript. Among her publications is the article Hadith Isa ibn Hisham: Khayal al-Alam and the Problem of ‘Seeing’ World Literature, in: Comparative Critical Studies, 12.2 (2015), pp 267-281.
Ḥukm al-Nās (The Rule of the People?): Muḥammad al-Muwayliḥī and Arabic Literature in the Long 1890s
The project tackles the persistent problem of periodization and genre categorization in histories of modern Arabic literature, particularly in relation to works written and published in the late 19th century. It discloses the issue as the manifestation, in the literary field, of an un-even development, linking it to its recent reincarnations in world literature and critical studies of al-nahḍa (the Arab Renaissance). Dipesh Chakrabarty’s famous critique of the ‘not-yet’ is turned against itself to develop a new approach for reading literature, (social) history, and the relationship between them in the long 1890s. It radicalizes Chakrabarty’s proposal of understanding various facets of capitalist modernity through translatability, turning to untranslatability. The latter does not institute a closed approach to an area. Rather, it offers untranslatability as a diverging mode of understanding global processes necessitated by recent developments in the world since 2011.
Beyond Arabic literature, the book will emphasize the methodological and theoretical contribution of the thesis vis-à-vis structuralism, historical materialism, and hermeneutics.
received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2013. She is Assistant Professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Culture at Washington University in St. Louis, where she teaches in the departments of Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (JINELC) and Comparative Literature. Her research engages debates in comparative and world literatures, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, translation theory, and anthropology, with a particular interest in the multilingual and circulational literary ties that have internally traversed North Africa and the Middle East since decolonization. She maintains an active research profile in contemporary Syrian literature and political thought, which is supported by her work as co-director of the interdisciplinary "Wastelands" seminar at Washington University in St. Louis. As a EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung (2016-17), she will complete her first book, titled Of Other Languages: Arabic Literature, Decolonization, and Materialities of Language, under contract with Northwestern University Press.
Of Other Languages: Arabic Literature and the Poetics of Regionalism (1956-2011)
Of Other Languages argues that the creation of cross-regional ties and circulation networks connecting North Africa and the Middle East was central to literary imaginings of decolonization in Arabic. The book traces the flowering of a postcolonial print culture through journals (e.g., Souffles-Anfas, al-Adab) that fostered transnational and multilingual exchange, rhetorics of Arab discovery and renewal, and aesthetics of greeting over distance. However, these acts were not limited to celebratory representations of, for example, the Algerian war of independence in Syrian short stories published in Beirut. Rather, the book excavates forgotten networks that led writers and intellectuals to criss-cross the region - from Morocco to Egypt, from Iraq to Algeria - between the 1950s and 1970s as teachers and students of the Arabic language. At the heart of the book’s argument is a series of literary readings that demonstrate writers’ critical and even ambivalent relationships to the geographies in which they participated in print and deed. Of Other Languages shows that in the heyday of decolonization and pan-Arab ideology, writers devised a range of materialist linguistic practices. They did so to make of Arabic literature a subversively transnational site – one that promised to counter the spread of postcolonial authoritarianism between Morocco and Iraq.
*EUME-CNMS Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung
Amir Moosavi **
obtained his PhD from New York University's Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies (2016). He also holds an MA in Near Eastern Studies from NYU (2007) and a BA in History and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin. His research interests include modern Arabic and Persian literatures, with an emphasis on Iran, Iraq and the Levant, and the cultural history of the modern Middle East. He has taught courses in Middle Eastern and Islamic history as well as Arabic and Persian languages and literatures at NYU, Bard College, and Hunter College. His dissertation focused on Arabic and Persian fiction from the Iran-Iraq War. He will join the EUME program at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin with a postdoctoral fellowship from the VolkswagenStiftung and W. Mellon Foundation.
Dust That Never Settled: Ideology, Ambivalence, Disenchantment and the Legacy of the Iran-Iraq War in Arabic and Persian Fiction
This book project is a comparative study of how Iraqi and Iranian writers have treated the Iran-Iraq War, from the eruption of the conflict, in 1980, to the present day. In bringing together Arabic and Persian fiction from this period, the book will create a new framework for the study of the two modern literary traditions through the lens of the war and its politically contentious legacy. Moosavi argues that the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq created similar material and intellectual conditions for literary production in both countries and as such, the literature of the war is a rich area for comparative literary study between modern Arabic and Persian literatures. Critically, he demonstrates how writers in the postwar period (after 1988), have relied on similar thematic concerns and aesthetic techniques to challenge the militant, ideological literatures of the war produced during the 1980s, with a special focus on representations of martyrdom and mourning. The book charts out ways in which these two national literatures converge and diverge, as Iranian and Iraqi writers continue to wrestle with the politically contentious issue of the legacy of the Iran-Iraq War.
** EUME Fellow of the VolkswagenStiftung/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
began his career as a journalist in 1998 at the Lebanese daily al-Safir. Until 2011, he was the deputy editor-in-chief of the daily al-Akhbar. Between 2012 and 2015, Saghieh worked as editor-in-chief of the news department at the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI). He also earned an MA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Of the Left and Other Demons
In his book project entitled Of the Left and Other Demons, Saghieh retraces his trajectory as a journalist navigating both a turbulent region and a mutating political tradition. He does so by probing the notion of ideological self-fashioning against the backdrop of his own intellectual and professional transformations as a militant journalist in postwar Lebanon. As he reflects on his experience of covering two decades of neoliberal policies, imperialist invasions, and popular uprisings, he points to the ways in which traditional print and visual media have sustained the paradox of being both a catalyst for change and a tool for repression. At the intersection of autobiography and historiography, the book makes visible the fault lines of the contemporary Arab and Lebanese left and attempts to identify the prospects of leftist ideologies of emancipation.