This course provides an intermediate level introduction to the main authors, themes, issues, and debates in gender, Islam, and postcolonial theory, with an in-depth focus on the intersections between Islamic feminism and postcolonial theory. The course engages with historical, contemporary, and occidentalist approaches to the field of Islamic feminism and postcolonial theory. The course material ranges from classical theory in the field and case studies (generated mainly via: ethnographies, histographies, and narratives of various genres), through to modern day journalistic interventions.
The Writer’s Craft
This course is designed to develop students’ fluency with major patterns of English prose, patterns that underlie the range of genres of English (e.g., journals profiles, plays, histories, fiction, exposition, scenic writing, technical writing, instructions, computer documentation, business policy, and argument). Students learn how mastery of these patterns creates powerful experiences for readers, and learn to recognize, discuss, and produce theses patterns in a supportive and friendly workshop atmosphere. Grammar and word choice are not taught as isolated exercises but in the context of work-shopping students papers. Students learn from this method that language “errors” (in grammar, word choice, sentence arrangement, and paragraph arrangement) are best noticed and treated as “bumps” that hinder the reader’s understanding or enjoyment of the text.
The Quest for Identity
‘The Quest for Identity’ is a literature course that introduces four major novels by both Arab and Western writers. The course is designed to familiarize you with several theories that will help you to investigate the identity issues presented in these novels. You will learn some basics of Narrative Theory that will be useful in your understanding and analyses of these novels. The novels selected for this course are diverse and vary in their historical orientations.
You will be introduced to Modern Arabic literature and post-colonial literature. Also, gender issues emerge as a focal point in the course as two of the novels are by female novelists. In addition to post-colonial and narrative perspectives, we will also consider the social and political contexts that informed the author of each novel.
We will explore the issue of identity, which presents a major issue in the selected novels and how identity as a major theme is manipulated in novels, focusing on identities under occupation and in post-colonial and post-modern novels where issues of hybridity and multiculturalism emerge.
Bridging Civilizations: Translating English to Arabic and vice versa
Bridging civilizations covers theoretical and practical aspects of the art of English-Arabic and Arabic-English translation. We will first overview the different assumptions governing English and Arabic syntax, semantics and pragmatics and so the different challenges facing the translator. We will then survey the different purposes served by translation and the different translation methods that vary depending upon your purpose. We will review how to produce a commentary of a translation so that you can evaluate, sympathetically or critically, its purposes and methods. You will then be asked to apply what you have learned to produce your own quality translations. You will be expected to translate several short pieces across a variety of genres (letter writing, literary, religious and political pieces). You will also be expected to produce a commentary of each of your translations that defends your translation approach and key decisions you made that might be controversial.
The language we speak and write is deeply associated with our sense of cultural identity. What happens when the language we speak is shared across many cultures and identities? Should we celebrate the fact that few speakers of English worldwide speak or write the Queen’s English? Or regret it? Does the globalization of English mean the cultural conquest of the world by Britain or the US? Or does it just mean the world has found an expedient way to conduct business and education across boundaries, leaving deeper cultural attitudes and behaviours untouched? If it is merely an expedient for intelligible cross-cultural communication, how can one insist on a narrow standard of English elevated above other varieties? Becoming a global citizen now seems to require understanding that many Englishes now exist. Does it further require fluency in many Englishes? This course starts from the premise that any educated citizen of the world needs to study these issues and develop informed opinions about them.
Courses are developed and taught at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar since 2005.