Toward Arab Spring Narratives The Politics of Translated Arabic Literature in the Wake of the 2011 Arab Uprisings
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This thesis explores the relationship between politics and literature in regard to the Western reception of North African and Middle Eastern literary texts in the light of the 2011 Arab uprisings, or the so-called 'Arab Spring.' It critically discusses the ways in which the recent, renewed Western interest in the Middle East and its culture results in overly politicized readings of these literary works, as novels about the Arab Spring that can inform us about the Arab world: an inscription that undermines these works' political potential and implicitly reaffirms the Orientalist gaze. In contrast, building on Rancière's notion of the 'distribution of the sensible' I will explain through a politico-aesthetic reading of five translated Arabic novels how Arabic literature has the potential to undermine the problematic 'grand narrative' of the Arab Spring and opens up a space where various Arab Spring narratives can be told in the future.