MES 323K • Arab Women Poets
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
This is a seminar that is open to undergraduate and graduate students of Arabic. The goals are (1) to survey a tradition of women's poetry in Arabic, (2) to familiarize students with medieval and modern techniques of literary analysis, (3) to compare the role of Arab women poets to those in other cultures, and (4) to give individuals extensive practice reading Arabic and discussing poetry in Arabic. Texts will include poems from the pre-Islamic, Umayyad, Abbasid, and Andalusian periods as well as modern poetesses who perform at the Cairo International Book Fair. Texts include the celebrated works of al-Khansa', Layla al-Akhyaliyya, Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya, and Wallada. In a seminar format, students will be challenged to address several questions: How did poetesses gain professional recognition in a male-dominated sphere? What impact did these women have on their audiences and on the literary tradition? How were their contributions received, transmitted, and modified in later generations? Students will also learn and apply medieval literary theories from Ibn Rashiq, al-'Askari, and Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, as well as modern approaches to culture and literature by G. Mead, M. Bakhtin, and M. Foucault. In addition to grounding poetry in literary methods, the class will be encouraged to compare Arab poetesses to their counterparts in the troubadour and Anglo-Saxon traditions.
Four Papers 60% Homework 20% Discussion 20%
Qallini, Sha'irat 'Arabiyat Al-Suyuti, Nuzhat al-Julasa fi Ash'ar al-Nisa' 'Ulayya bint al-Mahdi, Diwan Abu al-Faraj al-Isfhani, Kitab al-Aghani Ibn Rashiq, Kitab al-Umda