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BA Arabic Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Introduction to Post Colonial Arabic Literature

Unit code MEST20002
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Through the reading of a selection of Arabic literary texts in English translation by leading authors from across the Arab world, the course aims to introduce students to the language, style and themes of postcolonial Arabic literature. We will look at the features and significance of the ‘postcolonial voice’ in Arabic literature produced in the aftermath of national independence and the end of colonial rule, and will analyse some theoretical concepts in the context of postcolonial literary criticism. The course also aims to develop understanding of the political, historical and cultural contexts of the postcolonial approach to Arabic literature. The unit will be composed of two separate weekly one-hour seminars: Arabic pathway (for Arabic Studies students); and a non-language pathway (for all other students). In each weekly seminar, a selection of shorter texts will be read and discussed.

Aims

  • To enhance the students’ ability to analyse literary texts.
  • To introduce the students to basic conceptual and aesthetic approaches found in translated Arabic literature.
  • To raise the students’ critical awareness of themes and issues represented in postcolonial Arabic literature.
  • To enhance the students’ skills in writing academic essays in English on literature.
  • For the Arabic Seminar: To enhance the students’ reading and translation of extracts from major literary texts in Arabic; to enhance the students’ skills in writing in Arabic through composing short sentences to reflect critically on the readings; to develop the students’ knowledge of Arabic grammar, vocabulary and syntax in a literary context.
  • For the Non-Language Seminar: To enhance the students’ critical writing of short ‘reflections’ on the texts with the aim of strengthening their literary analytical skills; to enhance the students’ skills in group work and presentations in a literary context.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Read, demonstrate understanding and contextualize selected texts of translated Arabic literature by prominent authors, as well as engage with scholarly works on the set themes.
  •  Develop a conceptual framework for the understanding of major themes and ideas reflected in postcolonial Arabic literature.
  • Enhance their skills in analysing and appreciating Arabic literary works in the original language as well as the translated texts.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Apply basic tools of analysis and critique to selected literary texts.
  • Writing academic essays in English on literature.
  • Enhance their skills in translating short excerpts of Arabic literary works and reflecting on these works in short sentences in Arabic; and enhance their skills in writing short literary reviews in English about selected texts.
  • Further develop their knowledge of Arabic grammar, vocabulary and syntax in a literary context; and to develop their skills in group work and presentation.

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Apply critical and analytical thinking skills to close readings of literary texts.
  • Understand and reflect on political and historical arguments, cultural debates, and literary motifs and symbols as essential elements in modern Arabic literature.
  • Actively participate in class discussions, and the ability to work as part of a team or a group of students.
  • Present written and verbal ideas clearly.
  • Use library resources such as JSTOR and other databases and electronic journals.
  • Apply time management skills to their studies.
  • Effective verbal and written communication and presentation of ideas.
  • Effective skills in writing short and long essays in English. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Apply critical and analytical thinking skills to close readings of literary texts in order to understand and reflect on political and historical arguments, cultural discussions, and literary motifs and symbols.
  • Active participation in class discussions, and the ability to work as part of a team or a group of students.
  • Present written and spoken ideas clearly.
  • Use library resources such as JSTOR and other databases and electronic journals.
  • Apply time management skills to their studies.
  • Effective verbal and written communication in Arabic and English.
  • Effective skills in writing short and long essays in English. 

Employability skills

Other
The course will develop the students¿ skills in critical thinking and writing in Arabic and English; enhance skills is effective verbal and written communication; the organisation of ideas in a structured and clear manner; effective time management; team work and the ability to express ideas clearly in front of colleagues. These skills will help the students in the job market as future teachers, journalists, workers in developmental organisations, and other cultural fields.

Assessment methods

Essay 40%
Exam 60%

 

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on essay within 14 days of submission

 

Additional one-to-one feedback (during consultation hour or by making an appointment)

 

Feedback on formative assessment (short reflections on the reading material; essay plan)

 

Final revision session and advice on the preparation for the final exam

 

 

Recommended reading

  • Ashcroft, Bill et al. (eds.) The Post-colonial Studies Reader (London: Routledge, 2006 2nd edn.)
  • Khalifeh, Sahar. Wild Thorns. T. Le Gassick and E. Fernea (trans.) (London: Saqi Books, 1985).
  • Mahfuz, Najib. Autumn Quail. R. Allen (trans.) (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 1985).
  • Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. Greenfield, H. (trans.) (Plunkett Lake Press, 2013 edn.)
  • Musawi, Muhsin J. The Postcolonial Arabic Novel: Debating Ambivalence (Leiden: Brill 2003).
  • Salih, Tayeb. Season of Migration to the North. D. Johnson-Davies (trans.) London: Penguin Classics (2003 edn.)
  • Starkey, Paul. Modern Arabic Literature (Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2006).

 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Dalia Mostafa Unit coordinator

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