Arabic Literature for the Classroom argues for a more visible presence of Arabic within the humanities and social sciences, stressing the need to make Arabic literature available as a world literature, without damaging its own distinctive characteristics.

The nineteen chapters which make up this book broach theoretical and methodical cultural concerns in teaching literatures from non-American cultures, along with issues of cross-cultural communication, cultural competency and translation. While some chapters bring out the fascinating and ever tantalizing connections between Arabic and the literatures of medieval Europe, others employ specific approaches to teaching particular texts, potential methodologies, themes and a variety of topics that can place Arabic widely in a vast swathe of academic application and learning. Topics that are explored include gender, race, class, trauma, exile, dislocation, love, rape, humor, and cinema, as well as issues that relate to writers and poets, women’s writing and the so called nahdah (revival) movement in the 19th Century.

The comparative framework and multi-disciplinary approach means that this book injects new life into the field of Arabic Literature. It will therefore be an essential resource for students, scholars and teachers of Arabic Literature, as well as for anyone with an interest in learning more about Arabic culture.

part I|106 pages

Theory and method

chapter 1|22 pages

Proxidistant reading

Toward a critical pedagogy of the nahḍah in US comparative literary studies

chapter 2|16 pages

Teaching Arab women’s letters

chapter 3|14 pages

Arab women writers 1980–2010

chapter 6|13 pages

Classical and medieval Arabic literary delights

Towards teaching the humanistic literature of the Arabs

chapter 7|11 pages

Language through literature

part II|116 pages


chapter 8|22 pages

Lessons from the Maghreb

chapter 11|15 pages

The urban gateway

Teaching the city in modern Arabic literature

chapter 12|18 pages

Teaching Mahmoud Darwish

part III|92 pages


chapter 15|13 pages

Teaching the maqâmât in translation

chapter 16|17 pages

Ibn Hazm

Friendship, love and the quest for justice

chapter 17|11 pages

The Story of Zahra and its critics

Feminism and agency at war

chapter 19|25 pages

Teaching the Arabian Nights

chapter |3 pages


Teaching Arabic literature, Columbia University, May 2010