Thresholds to Arabic Literary Criticism conference

December 16, 2022 – Opportunities

The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society is proud to present Thresholds to Arabic Literary Criticism. This event will be held in-person at Columbia University at the Italian Academy (December 14) and Faculty House (December 15-16). Registration for i person attendance is closed. We have a limited numbers of seats available virtually, linked below. Please note that virtual attendees are not able to participate in the Q&A discussion.

This event is also co-sponsored by Columbia University Arabic Studies Seminar, Brill Academic Publishers, and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award (Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center, Department of Culture & Tourism, Abu Dhabi).

The program for the event can be found below.

Day 1: Wednesday, Dec 14 – Italian Academy, Columbia University

Day One – Audience Member Registration Link

9.00 – 9.30 am
Opening Remarks and Introduction
Sarah Cole (Dean of the Humanities Division, Columbia University)
Ali Bin Tamim Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center (ALC)

9.30 – 10.15 am
Keynote Speech
Muhsin J. al-Musawi (Columbia University)
Theoretical Thresholds: Dependency and Thievery in the Adab Marketplace

10.15 – 10.30 am

10.30– 12.15 am
Panel 1: The Seeds of Arabic Literary Criticism: Re-allocating Seminal and Marginalized Perspectives
Chairperson: Nizar Hermes (University of Virginia)
Hany Rashwan (United Arab Emirates University) VIRTUAL
The Overlooked Balāghah Commentaries of Ḥadīth Literature: al-Sharīf al-Radī in Dialogue with Badr al-Dīn al-ʿAīny
Suzanne Stetkevych (Georgetown University)
Camels and Metapoesis: al-Maʿarrī’s Saqṭ al-Zand 58
Chiara Fontana (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)
The Name of the Key: Al-Sakkākī’s Literary Craftsmanship and Pragmatic Poetics in Miftāḥ al-ʽUlūm

12.15 – 1.00 pm
Keynote Speech
Mahdi Arar (University of Birzeit) [VIRTUAL]
لغة الجسد في الادب العربي – Body Language in Arabic Literature

1.45 –3.45 pm
Panel 2: Endogenous Approaches’ Translocation in Contemporary Arabic Criticism: from al-Maghrib to Bilād al-Shām
Chairperson: Emily Drumsta (University of Texas at Austin)
Maria Elena Paniconi (University of Macerata)
Tales of trans/formation: the intersection between Bildungsroman and the Arab Novel
(Egypt as a case study)
Simone Sibilio (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)
Theoretical ‘Transformations’ and Syncretism. A Negotiated Application of the Structuralist Approach in Muḥammad Bannīs’ Literary Studies
Lovisa Berg (Dalarna University)
The Role of Critics in the Formation of the Syrian Novel

3.45 –4.00 pm

3.45 – 5.30 pm
Panel 3: The Poetics of Dis/Figuration: Criticism as a Sensorial Exercise in the Pre-modern and Modern Periods
Chairperson: Stefan Sperl (SOAS. London University)
Nuha Alshaar (American University of Sharjah/The Institute of Ismaili Studies)
From al-Jāḥiẓ to al-Tawḥīdī and the Brethren of Purity: Art of Writing, Aesthetics, and the Ethical
Approach to Language
Zainab Sayed Zahed (Independent Scholar)
The Imaginary Context in Nahj al Balaghah: Towards a theory of Arabic Rhetoric
Murtaza Shakir (Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Mumbai)
From Longing to Belonging: Contemplating Optimism in the Verses of Takhalluṣ (Transition) in the Exilic Poetry of the Fatimid Dāʿī Al-Muʾayyad fī ‘l-Dīn al-Shīrāzī (d. 1078 CE).

Day 2: Thursday, Dec 15 – Columbia Faculty House

Day Two – Audience Member Registration Link


Panel 4:Traveling Criticism: Reshaping Imaginary Centers and Peripheries of the Arab World
Chairperson: Monica Ruocco (L’Orientale University of Naples)
Clarissa Burt (US Naval Academy)
Ayyām al-ʿArab on Screen: Re-Imaging Turāth and Trans/Forming Pre-Islam and its Poetry for
Contemporary Audiences
Shuaib Ally (McGill University) [VIRTUAL]
Irony as False Attribution of Beliefs: ʿAbd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī’s Contribution to the Theoretical
Development of Irony in Arabic Linguistics and Exegesis
Rym Chakraoui (Lusail University, Doha Qatar)
Arabic Narrative in American Voices: John Barth and Edgar Alan Poe

10.20 – 10:40 am

10.40– 12.20 am
Panel 5: Paradigms Interrogated?
Chairperson: Suzanne P. Stetkevych (Georgetown University)
Ali Hussein (University of Haifa)
The Development of Rhetoric in Classical Arabic Poetry
Amidu Sanni (Fountain University)
The Arabic Literary Theory on the Ancients (Qudamā’) and the Moderns (Muḥdathūn): A New
Yaseen Noorani (University of Arizona)
The Struggle to Define World, Eastern, and National Literary Identity in Egypt during the 1930’s and 1940’s
Boutheina Khaldi (American University of Sharjah)
Bint al-Shᾱṭi’: A Revisionary Reading of the Arabic Literary Canon

1.20– 3.00 pm
Panel 6: Reading the Text and the Paratext: The Role of Translation in the Development of Arabic Literary Criticism
Chairperson: Shir Alon (University of Minnesota)
Qussay al-Attabi (Harvard University)
How Theory Travels, or Sartre in Baghdad
Fatima Sai (Università degli Studi Gabriele d’Annunzio – Chieti-Pescara) VIRTUAL
Mu‘āraḍa, Metaphor of Modernism
Arturo Monaco (Sapienza University of Rome)
Theory in Use: Samples of Literary Comparativism in the Footnotes of Sulaymān al-Bustānī’s
Translation of the Iliad

3.00 – 3.15 pm

3.15 –4.00 pm
Keynote Speech
Monica Ruocco (L’Orientale University of Naples)
Is Riḥlah Still a Genre in Contemporary Arabic Literature?

4.00 – 5.00 pm
Roundtable 1: Cross-temporal Poetics and Criticism
Moderator: Bilal Orfali (American University of Beirut)
Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University)
Matthew Keegan (Columbia University)
Wen-Chin Ouyang (SOAS University of London)

Day 3: Friday – Dec 16 – Columbia Faculty House

Day Three – Audience Member Registration Link

9:00 – 10.45 am
Panel 7:  Revisionist Critiques and Criticisms from the Nahda and Onwards
Chairperson: TBD
Haifa Saud al-Faysal (King Saud University)
C. Ceyhun Arslan (Koç University)
Family Matters: Oedipus, Tawfīq al-Ḥakīm, and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar
Refqa Abu-Remaileh (Freie Universität Berlin)
The Parallel Geographies of Palestinian Literature
Francesca Maria Corrao (Luiss University Rome)
On “Humanism and Democracy” by Edward Said. An idea of criticism beyond cultural boundaries.

10.45 – 11:00 am

11.00 – 11:45 pm
Keynote Speech
Stefan Sperl (SOAS University of London)
Arabic Poetry and Neoplatonic Poetics

1.00 – 3.00 pm
Panel 9: Drifts or Caveats? Ethical and Political Discourse in Crosstemporal Arabic Literary Criticism
Chairperson: Yasmine al-Khayyat (Rutgers University)
Pasquale Macaluso (University of Cape Town)
“Laughter Needs No Justification Even After June 5”: Literary Criticism and Satire in Ghassan Kanafani’s Book Reviews After the Six Day War
Sonja Mejcher-Atassi (American University of Beirut)
Etel Adnan – read, viewed, and remembered through her private papers
Jeff Sacks (University of California Riverside)
Anontological Life: Poetry and Form in Mahmoud Darwish
Ana González Navarro (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid/Universidad de Barcelona)
Towards an Arab feminist literary criticism: the case of Morocco

3.00 – 3.15 pm

3.15 – 4.15 pm
Roundtable 2: Past Archetypes and the Challenge of the Contemporary
Moderator: Bilal Orfali (American University of Beirut)
Sarah Bin Tyeer (Columbia University)
Taoufik Ben Amor (Columbia University)
Moneera al-Ghadeer (Scholar from Saudi Arabia) VIRTUAL
Yasmine al-Khayyat (Rutgers University)
Ada Barbaro (Sapienza University of Rome)

4.15 – 4.30 pm
Closing Remarks
Muhsin J. al-Musawi, Columbia University

 The Heyman Center for the Humanities, Room B-101
74 Morningside Drive
New York, NY, 10027
  (212) 854-4541
  (212) 854-3099