"Arab Identity and Literature in Translation: The Politics of Selection and Representation" Free Download
Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Translation No.5 May, 2016

RAHMA MAHROOQI, Sultan Qaboos University
CHRISTOPHER DENMAN, Sultan Qaboos University

Literature is an invaluable tool in understanding various aspects of the cultural, social and political processes associated with the Arab drive for modernization. This paper explores representations of Arab identity by examining historical and contemporary Arabic literary works and the processes of translation into European languages they have undergone. It first details the emergence of Arab literature during the Islamic era from late 700 AC to the end of the Abbasid Dynasty, before examining Arabic-language literature, and especially the literature produced by female authors, in more recent times. The nature of Arabic works translated into European languages for Western readers is also discussed with a particular focus on the politics of selection and representation associated with these texts. The paper concludes by discussing both the potential negative impact that translation may have on conceptualizations of Arabs and Arab identities and the potential of translated works to offer deep insight into various aspects of life in the many and diverse countries and territories of the Arab world.


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Ethnic Studies eJournal

Joan Negley Kelleher Centennial Professor in Rhetoric and Composition; Director, Humanities Institute, University of Texas at Austin - Department of English

Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professor in English; University Distinguished Teaching Professor; Chair, University of Texas at Austin - Department of English

Dorothy Cruickshank Backstrand Chair in Gender and Women's Studies, Claremont Colleges - Department of Gender and Women's Studies

Senior Lecturer, Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor of English, University College London - Department of English Language and Literature

Judith Rodin Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania - Department of English