Earlier this month, Robyn Creswell received the Gaddis Smith International Book Prize for best first book for his "City of Beginnings: Poetic Modernism in Beirut."
"[W]e ended up reading only men for two reasons: 1. the availability of translations the library was able to obtain, ordered from overseas; and 2. my own ignorance of Arab women writers and masculine practice in reading."
As scholars, we know that Arabic literary production has a long, prolific, and varied history that exists not only within a wide range of texts but also in culture and memory; however, many of our students do not begin with that assumption.
"I started to ask myself the following questions: How might iconic images circulate between the page and other public contexts such as graffiti, calligraffiti, and the iconography of protest and resistance? What is the role of leitmotifs and repetition at the intersection of text and image?"
"I don’t know anyone else who teaches this way, but I’m really proud of it. First because – we’ll bracket the native speakers for a minute – the overwhelming majority of my students will graduate without achieving fluency in Arabic. Most will die without achieving it. So what?? "
"World Literature tends to focus on questions of circulation and reception, and this is inevitably tied to modes of reading. The difference between the way a text is read in English and the way it’s read in Arabic has been at the heart of some of the biggest 20th century literary controversies in the Middle East and North Africa."
"Bilingualism in Arabic/English at the department of English and Comparative Literature at AUC is certainly a distinctive case."
"Firstly, these are fun texts that capture a sense of marvel, wonder, humor, and, above all, adventure. In a university setting, both of these texts get at a fundamental human problem that I enjoy highlighting: How does one write about and represent cultures and peoples other than one’s own? What pitfalls await even a sympathetic observer?"
"This year, we’ll translate Ta’ al-khajal by Fadela Alfarouk and we will do the translation as a collective one (I’m convinced that collective knowledge production is always better than individual one)."
"Djinn, however, are a different kind of supernatural entity. Unlike ghosts, they are not remnants of a past that we presume dead, but live lives parallel to ours."
"In a course with limited time to discuss reader perspectives and biases, I prefer to focus on the act of translation."
"The goal of this course was to help students recognize these voices as important sources of social and intellectual history, and hence the choice to use non-fictional texts, which lend themselves to historical interpretation more easily."