"A Room of One's Own: The Modern Arabic Heroine between Career and Domesticity"
Fri, March 4, 2011 • 3:00 PM • Texas Union, Eastwoods Room
A talk by William Granara, Harvard University
The status of Arab women in society has long been examined, challenged, reinforced and subverted by modern Arab writers and intellectuals. The social and legal debates within the Reformist movement concerning women's role within the family and within society have been amply represented, romantically and realistically, throughout Arabic fiction since the middle of the nineteenth century. My paper looks at two contemporary Arabic novels, Granada by Radwa Ashour (1994) and Munira's Bottle by Yousef Al-Mohaimeed (2004), that bring the women's issue under a much deeper scrutiny, as the rebellious wife, daughter, sister and mother, in her desire to live her own life on her own terms, takes her family into treacherous political waters. Set during the Inquisition of early 16th century Spain, and and the first Gulf War of the last decade of the 20th century, these novels construct new and exciting complex female protagonists who commit themselves to balancing home and career during times of great social and political upheaval.