Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Global Middle East focuses on the study of literatures that have been shaped by territorial and linguistic politics, colonialism, military domination and gross human rights violations. The series aims to bring together American scholars and writers of Middle Eastern and North African descent with U.S. based writers of color whose work engages with the following themes: memory, space/place, counter-mapping, oral history, documentation, censorship, colonialism, queerness, racism, occupation, terrorism, language preservation, genocide, extinction, and nationalism/statelessness. The broader objective of the series is to grapple with the constructed nature of history and to reimagine American and global history from the position of suppressed voices; and, to examine the relationships between ethics, aesthetics and literature by discussing how texts by writers of color that are sites of alternative knowledge production can innovate the technology of the novel and the poem in the process of responding to systemic violence. In doing so, we aim to theorize new modes of contemporary literary resistance across national borders, nurture scholars and writers of color, and cultivate intersectional coalition building. 


Guiding Questions

  • How do writers navigate the invisible restrictions placed on speech in order to translate the pain of war, forced migration, and state sanctioned violence into language? 
  • What narrative strategies do literatures of annihilation, exile, and resistance engage? 
  • How are memory, temporality, and spatiality reimagined in narratives of resistance and testimony? 
  • Is literature a form of “archive,” and if so what is the archival work of the writer in the context of violence and annihilation? 
  • How have writers productively challenged grammars of denial and the politics of erasure? 
  • How do literary practices confront the challenge of displacement, subjugation and cultural erasure by creating new sites of memory, knowledge production, and visions of reconstruction? 
  • What does a responsible pedagogy of such literatures look like?
  • How can we define and practice anti-racist pedagogy in the classroom?
  • What is a responsible aesthetic of documentation and commemoration in the face of atrocity? 
  • What are productive modes of collaboration among writers responding to human rights violations and scholars of peace studies?