Wednesday, 21 June 2017, 7.00 pm - 8.30 pm |
Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Trajekte-Tagungsraum, 3rd floor, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin

In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt


Michael Allan
(University of Oregon, EUME-CNMS Fellow of the AvH 2017-18)

Comment: Zaal Andronikashvili
(Berlin, ZfL)

Chair: Georges Khalil
(Forum Transregionale Studien, EUME)

Abstract
What would world literature look like if understood not as an accumulation of texts from across the globe, but instead as the globalization of a practice of literary reading? And what becomes of other modes of reading within this global literary paradigm? The talk responds to these questions by looking closely at two scenes of reading, each of which stages a story at the limits of storytelling. In the first, I draw from Taha Hussein's autobiographical narration of a life prior to literacy; and in the second, I examine the protest of Haydar Haydar's novel on the streets of Cairo. In either of these accounts, we confront both the limits of a literary writer imagining illiteracy and the possibilities that arise from reading otherwise.

Michael Allan is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Petrone Faculty Scholar at the University of Oregon, where he is also on the Program Faculty for Cinema Studies, Arabic and Middle East Studies. He recently completed his first book, In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton 2016), and is currently writing on a book on the travels of the Lumière Brothers film company across North Africa and the Middle East. He is a EUME-CNMS Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2017-2018.

Zaal Andronikashvili is a research fellow at the Center for Literary and Cultural Studies in Berlin and an Associate Professor at the Ilia-State-University, Tbilisi. He studied History and Philology in Tbilisi and Saarbrücken and completed his PhD at the Göttingen-University (2005). His research interests include Theory of Plot, Cultural Semantics of geographical Space, Cultural History of the Caucasus and the Black Sea Region. Currently he coordinates a Project at the ZfL funded by the Volkswagen Foundation “Batumi, Odessa, Trabzon. Cultural Semantics of the Black Sea from the Perspective of Eastern Port Cities”. Relevant Publications: Co-Editor: Kulturheros. Genealogien, Konstellationen, Praktiken (Cultural Hero. Genalogies, Constellations, Practices) together with Giorgi Maisuradze, Franziska Thun-Hohenstein, Matthias Schwartz, Berlin 2017.