Through a comparative and poststructuralist reading, I will examine the artistic manners in which a selection of Arab-American and Arabic literary texts builds a strategy of a poetics-of-suspended-crisis. By conceptualizing crisis through the discourse of violence, I examine three of its dimensions: crisis as a matter of discursive silencing and silence; crisis as a problem of structure in orientalism, and finally crisis as a textual event, which ultimately announces the detonation of silencing and silence. On this account, I distinguish between two modes of representation of crisis. The first concerns itself with narrating the repository of discursive censures over crises in the Middle East, and therefore aims to depoliticize the silences built over crisis. The second mode exemplifies a trend of inscribing crisis as an antagonistic condition of the text and language itself. My argument pays attention to some of the most esoteric and visceral literary strategies that may have remained repressed in Western frameworks of reading “world” or “ethnic” literatures. My selection of these texts is but a small sample concerned with aestheticizing violence as a fundamental mode of imagining crisis in order to allow new counterpoints of thinking it differently outside modern visions of apocalypse, paralysis, and psychosis.
Suspended Crisis in Arab-American and Arabic Literatures: Modernity, Violence, and Afflicted Textuality
youssef yacoubi is an assistant professor of languages, literatures, and cultures and director of the Arabic Studies Program at Seton Hall University. He is a comparatist and critical theorist interested in the literary, theological, and cultural intersections between Mediterranean, Islamic, Arab, British, and North American traditions of thought and critique. He taught at the Ohio State University as an assistant professor in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Comparative Studies, and at Bard College and at Hofstra University as an assistant professor in Arabic and comparative literature.
Youssef Yacoubi; Suspended Crisis in Arab-American and Arabic Literatures: Modernity, Violence, and Afflicted Textuality. Comparative Literature Studies 15 May 2018; 55 (2): 361–378. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.55.2.0361
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