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7ABA0019 Polyglot Literatures of Modern Egypt: 1900-2000

Credit value: 20 credits
Module convenor: Professor Ziad Elmarsafy
Assessment: 1 x 5000 word essay (100%)
Teaching pattern: 2-hour seminar, weekly

Module description 

This module explores the many literatures in languages other than Arabic by writers from and based in Egypt. The rich polyglot heritage of Egypt, which includes English, French, Greek, Italian, and Turkish inter alia, reflects Egypt's geography and history at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. The scope of the module is limited to twentieth century for purposes of organisation and coherence, but students may be allowed to push these chronological boundaries in their essays. The module will explore several movements of the period, including Modernism and Surrealism. It will also consider the geopolitical situation of Egypt and its interaction with the cultural production of the period, covering the British Occupation and concomitant anti-imperialist movements, the resistance to Fascism, the 1952 revolution, the 1956 Suez War and the ensuing exodus of the majority of Egypt's non-Arabophone population, and, finally, the rediscovery and reinvention of Egypt by diaspora writers. 

Authors to be studied may include Aciman, Chedid, Cossery, Ghali, Henein, Jacques, Jabès, Mansour, Solé.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable, and practical skills appropriate to a Level 7 module, and in particular will be able to::

  1. Understand key and often overlooked parts of Egypt's literary, cultural, and political histories.
  2. Work with assigned material to formulate their own research essay topic within a comparative literary and theoretical framework.
  3. Mobilise a global perspective on aesthetic, cultural, and political movements usually taught through a European lens.
  4. Employability: Extrapolate learning outcomes attained in the module to a proper and applicable understanding of contemporary Egypt, North Africa, and Europe. Additional employability skills cultivated in the module include critical thinking, interdiscplinary thinking, project design, and argument development.

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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