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Exilic Subjectivities in Arabic Literature: Belonging and Estrangement , Sec. 2

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Organizer: Jonas Elbousty

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This seminar aims to bring together scholars with an interest in examining exilic subjectivities, with a particular focus on how the concepts of belonging and estrangement have been explored in Arabic literary genres. Separation from one’s homeland, resulting from social, economic, ecological, political, and religious hardships has gained the attention of many Arab writers. Since the nineteenth century, in particular, the atrocities faced due to colonization, persecution, merciless regimes, fear of imprisonment and torture, political oppression, and continuous wars in the Middle East and North Africa have forced many into exile. Examples of these atrocities include the mahjari movement, in which writers fled oppression and injustice (and indeed, civil war) in Syro-Lebanon in the 1850s and 60s under the ruling of the Ottoman Empire, the Algerian struggle for Independence, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Lebanese Civil War, the Gulf War, the American invasion of Iraq, and the Syrian Civil War, to name a few. These hardships have inspired many writers to explore various topics in their literary works, including alienation, displacement, traumatic experience, liminality, and constructed subjectivities, in an attempt to unveil the experiences exilic subjects go through and expand (and nuance) our understanding of exile. For this seminar, we encourage papers that directly engage with the concepts of belonging and estrangement in their discussion of exilic subjectivities, focusing on how exile affects one’s sense of identity and the ways in which exiles (re)construct themselves.   Abstracts should be between 300-400 words.  

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