This year's theme


Literature and the “Arab Spring” :

analyses and perspectives


Literature and the « Arab Spring » : analyses and perspectives

     The events now shaking the Arab World and deeply disrupting its values and political structures impose themselves as an ineluctable reality in all fields concerned with that part of the world. EURAMAL, whose principal mission is to follow the Arab socio-cultural evolution across the literary spectrum, has chosen the theme of the “Arab Spring” for its 10th meeting at INALCO in Paris. The objective is to interrogate writing trends in modern Arabic literature during the last few decades for possible links, explicit or implicit, with the recent Arab revolutionary movements. 

Research topics and axes envisaged as possible paths for the investigation of the subject include:

1- Sources and origins. Without the need to go back to the nahḍa period, it would be quite relevant to examine the extent to which modern Arabic literature has foreseen or prepared for, consciously or unconsciously, the current movements.

2- At what point did modern Arabic literature herald a new vision/s of Arab society?

3- The presence in literature of “the people” as an active entity. How is “al-sha‘b” represented in literature?

4- Characters, as heroes or anti-heroes and their dimensions in modern Arabic literature. Are there in the literature of the “Arab Spring” or “pre-Arab Spring” heroes or anti-heroes who represent a new kind of character, which can be seen as typical of the movements, referred to as the “Arab Spring”?

5- The new media – blogs, text messages (SMS) etc. – as potential underpinning for literary texts (poetry, vernacular poetry, the essay, the novel…) and as means of communication – lead to a questioning of the role of such texts in the unfolding and development of events in the Arab World today.

6- Papers can also deal with theoretical questions concerning the relation between contemporary literature on the one hand, and revolution on the other, an issue at the very heart of our proposed conference, as suggested by the title. And although the title presupposes the existence of such a relation, nonetheless its existence remains in need of evidence. In this respect, many questions come to mind: Is there really a relationship? What kind of relationship is it? What dimensions does literature bestow on revolutions to make us better able to understand them? What aspects of the “Arab Spring” has literature probably not covered? What is it that we look for in literature? Can we find there, or try to find, the essence of the historical phenomenon known as revolution? In other words, can literature be a legitimate source of knowledge on the nature of events in general? Is there a literature of the “Arab Spring”?

7- Language and expression. Can one recognise in contemporary literature a new language and a new rhetoric in keeping with revolutionary movements?

8- Indignation (a word come into fashion). Here we must look in modern Arabic literature for feelings of being deceived, for the frustration of Arab populations represented therein: the shameful manner in which they are treated by political authority; the way in which they toil for a living, while a small minority amasses  wealth; how they pay tax but are not given the opportunity to express their political will; how the authorities go on non-stop about human rights, but allow the population none of it etc.