Title

Experimentalism in the Postcolonial Moroccan Novel: Fusing the Spheres of Aesthetics and Politics

Subject Area

Arabic and Islamic Studies

Abstract

The phenomenon of al-tajrīb(experimentalism) seems to herald a new era of Moroccan literary history in the second half of the twentieth century. It has become almost synonymous with literary innovation, and is an invaluable tool that provides a window into contemporary Morocco. It is part of a larger transformational dynamic that affected Moroccan society in the decades following national independence in 1956. As a modernizing trend, al-tajrīb(experimentalism) can be construed as both a reaction to and a reflection of the transitional cultural landscape in the aftermath of decolonization and of Arab military-political defeats in the conflict with Israel, events that have left a mark on Moroccan and Arab consciousness. The year 1967 in particular emerges as extremely important, for it witnessed the historic defeat of Arab armies in the six-day war with Israel, which greatly impacted Moroccan and Arab literary activity. While it privileges questions of form, Moroccan experimental literature is not muted on challenges facing Moroccan society in the postcolonial era. The experimental novel surfaced in order to reconsider how questions of form relate to the political and the social. It provided an aesthetic space for voicing various types of critique of postcolonial Moroccan and Arab regimes. This paper seeks to highlight that the form-politics dialectic that informs Moroccan and Arab experimentalism is deeply tied to the notion of crisis, as it pertains to such terrains as politics, social justice, national culture, and identity.

Brief Bio Note

Dr. Anouar El Younssi is an Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies at Oxford College of Emory University. His research explores the wave of literary innovation in Arabic literatures, with a focus on Morocco and the Maghreb. He received his PhD in Comparative Literature at Penn State.

Keywords

experimentalism, Moroccan novel, postcolonial, aesthetics and politics, modernist, Al-Madini, Barradah, Laroui

Location

Afternoon Session 3 (PARB 227)

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

4-12-2019 5:35 PM

Embargo

11-26-2018

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Apr 12th, 5:35 PM

Experimentalism in the Postcolonial Moroccan Novel: Fusing the Spheres of Aesthetics and Politics

Afternoon Session 3 (PARB 227)

The phenomenon of al-tajrīb(experimentalism) seems to herald a new era of Moroccan literary history in the second half of the twentieth century. It has become almost synonymous with literary innovation, and is an invaluable tool that provides a window into contemporary Morocco. It is part of a larger transformational dynamic that affected Moroccan society in the decades following national independence in 1956. As a modernizing trend, al-tajrīb(experimentalism) can be construed as both a reaction to and a reflection of the transitional cultural landscape in the aftermath of decolonization and of Arab military-political defeats in the conflict with Israel, events that have left a mark on Moroccan and Arab consciousness. The year 1967 in particular emerges as extremely important, for it witnessed the historic defeat of Arab armies in the six-day war with Israel, which greatly impacted Moroccan and Arab literary activity. While it privileges questions of form, Moroccan experimental literature is not muted on challenges facing Moroccan society in the postcolonial era. The experimental novel surfaced in order to reconsider how questions of form relate to the political and the social. It provided an aesthetic space for voicing various types of critique of postcolonial Moroccan and Arab regimes. This paper seeks to highlight that the form-politics dialectic that informs Moroccan and Arab experimentalism is deeply tied to the notion of crisis, as it pertains to such terrains as politics, social justice, national culture, and identity.