The Space between “Thawras”: Space and Social Diversity in Contemporary Arabic Literature

By Roula Salam.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Is this the dying autumn of the Arab spring, or does it mark the beginning of a new era in the Arab world where this time around thawra, or revolution, will have more positive and longer-term results than thawras past? A number of critics have argued that the Arab Spring marks an unprecedented post-ideological movement in the Arab world, in its unification of people from different classes, genders, races, or religions, while other critics deem it impossible for any such movement to be independent of ideology. While the majority of revolutions across Arab countries appear, for the most part, to have unified many people under the common goal of fighting tyranny and oppression, it remains a fact that the Arab Spring has not rendered these people uniform, and that after the heat of thawra has passed the time will come to clearly address diversity and difference as being necessary components of democracy. In this regard, how does contemporary Arabic literature play a role in representing, understanding, and accepting (or trying to accept) social diversity? How may spatial theory be used to examine Arabic writing, and how does Arabic writing, in turn, inform Western (high) theory? This paper traces the ways in which contemporary Arab literature and spatial discourse may be used to complicate our understanding of the diverse nature of Arab identity in ever-changing spaces. Encompassing a variety of contemporary Arabic works of fiction and non-fiction, and using a spatial approach, this paper examines the ways in which space may be used to express social diversity in contemporary Arabic literature.

Keywords: Social Diversity, Arabic Literature, Spatial Theory

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 312.977KB).

Dr. Roula Salam

Queen’s University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Roula Salam obtained her Ph.D degree in English literature from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. Her area of specialization is post-colonial literature, with emphasis on Middle Eastern and spatial studies. Her doctoral dissertation focused on spatial politics in the Arabic novel. She is also interested in the roles of popular and religious cultures in the Arab world, as well as in Arab women writers’ contributions to spatial theory through works of fiction and through research on the urban spatial practices of other Arab women. Dr. Salam currently teaches English at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and she is also a translator.