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  • Late Modern Arabic LiteratureGender as Crucible of Crisis
  • Khalid Hadeed (bio)

This dissertation explores the relations between gender and crisis in Arabic literature from the late 1960s to the present. Working in a regional Arab context, I define crisis as an endemic situation of political paralysis and cultural stagnation, one historically connected to the Arab world’s failure to obtain the political freedoms, economic independence, and social reforms aspired to in anticolonial nationalism. Reading a hybrid mix of four novels, a novella, a poetic memoir, and two poems by Ghassan Kanafani (2004), Sahar Khalifeh, Fadwa Tuqan, Mayy alSayigh, Rashid al-Daif (2007), Jabbur al-Duwayhi, and Sonallah Ibrahim (2001), I illustrate the dynamic role played by gender in the following national-regional crises: the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the ongoing legacy of tribal and sectarian conflict in Lebanon, and the alliance between comprador capitalism and the police state in Egypt. I argue that the emergence of gender as an active crucible of crisis—as opposed to a mere allegory of crisis—in Arabic literature is specific to the late modern period during which the selected texts were written. The secondary literature supporting my analysis includes Aghacy 2009; Dworkin 1981; Massad 1995; Sedgwick 1985; and Sharabi 1992. [End Page 250]

Khalid Hadeed

KHALID HADEED is assistant professor of comparative literature at Kuwait University. He has written about representations of homosexuality in modern Arabic literature and queerness in relation to the Israeli occupation and has contributed translations between Arabic, English, and French to the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Alexandria, Egypt; the Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; and ArteEast, New York. Contact:


Aghacy, Samira. 2009. Masculine Identity in the Fiction of the Arab East since 1967. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
al-Daif, Rashid. 2007. Dear Mr. Kawabata, translated by Paul Starkey. 2nd ed. London: Quartet.
Dworkin, Andrea. 1981. Pornography: Men Possessing Women. New York: Perigee.
Ibrahim, Sonallah. 2001. The Committee, translated by Mary St. Germain and Mary Constable. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Kanafani, Ghassan. 2004. All That’s Left to You: A Novella and Short Stories, translated by May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed. Northampton, MA: Interlink.
Massad, Joseph. 1995. “Conceiving the Masculine: Gender and Palestinian Nationalism.” Middle East Journal 49, no. 3: 467–83.
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. 1985. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press.
Sharabi, Hisham. 1992. Neopatriarchy: A Theory of Distorted Change in Arab Society. New York: Oxford University Press. [End Page 251]


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