This special issue explores questions concerning the politics and poetics of literary texts that respond to individual and collective experiences of suffering in the Maghreb and beyond. The greater Maghreb, extending from Egypt to Morocco and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, has been the site of dramatic socio-political upheavals, including colonization, revolution, dictatorial rule, civil strife, and the recent Arab uprisings. Periods of violence—such as the Years of Lead in Morocco (1956-1999), the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) and the bloody civil war in the 1990s, Gadhafi’s brutal rule of Libya (1969-2011), and Bourguiba and Ben Ali’s reign over Tunisia have catalyzed the production of a vibrant literary oeuvre that bears witness to both the suffering and the resistance generated by these events. Moreover, the increase of illegal immigration, the rise of ISIS and the “defeat” of politicized groups (Tuareg) in countries coterminous to the Maghreb has has heightened the risks of trans-border violence, which targets vulnerable groups. While political transition and civil reconciliation initiatives in Morocco and Algeria have been conducive to the prosperity of testimonial literature in the past decade, the Arab uprisings have weakened the dictatorial grip and widened spaces for free speech, igniting a new wave of locally-published literary works by Maghrebi writers who narrate and reflect on the impact of these events for diverse communities across North Africa. Be they autobiographies, prison novels, testimonies, films, cartoons or poems, such works both document and theorize suffering. This special issue will reflect upon the myriad ways in which literature represents, contests, rewrites, accounts for, and transforms the sum of traumatic events lived in the Maghreb and beyond during the last fifty years. In the absence of independent institutionalized redress of the traumas engendered by this violence, literature and film provide an opportunity both to heal and to reassign responsibility for the exactions of the past, thus opening up new possibilities for literature to interrogate and rewrite historiography.
The papers accepted in this volume will raise questions concerning memory and suffering, novelistic production and trauma, incarceration and testimony, immigration and violence, literature and war, and political change through close study of literary and cinematic works. The issue also invites papers that address these issues and account for the linguistic (Amazigh, Arabic and French) and cultural complexity of Maghrebi literature. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words. Please email abstracts to Jill Jarvis (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Brahim El Guabli (email@example.com) by 15 March.
- First drafts of articles between 6000 and 7000 words, notes and biography included, are due by 15 July.
- Final articles due by 1 October.
- Volume will be sent to production due by 30 November.