New Visions: Art and Literature of the Arab World


Spring 2015 quarter

Taught by

international feminism, Middle East studies, English

From the Arab uprisings to the “global war on terror,” literary and artistic interventions from the Arab/Muslim world have played a critical role in confronting Orientalist stereotypes and providing new visions of the region and its peoples. Focusing on contemporary artwork and writings by Arab artists from the Middle East and the diaspora, this program will explore the intersections of literary and artistic production, imperialism, diasporic politics, gender and sexuality, nationalism, religion, and societal change. Through the lenses of art theory and literary theory, as well as postcolonial theory, we will examine the new visions set forth by these artists, and the role of Western gatekeepers in influencing the reception and distribution of their work.

We will examine a range of modern and contemporary art and read novels, poetry, essays, and memoirs by Arab writers across the region. We will situate our analysis within the historical and political events that shape artistic and literary production, and examine how artists and writers critique masculinist narratives that justify violence and exclude women’s voices. Students will write art and literary analysis, and engage in independent projects that may include their own creative writing, photography, or research on an artist or writer of their choice. In this study, students will consider the impact of political, economic, cultural and military forces on Arab and Muslim’s lives and artistic production, and examine literary, artistic, and film representations as sites of resistance. Students will also gain a greater understanding of postcolonial, Third World, transnational feminism, and Islamic movements. Students will have the opportunity to attend community-based events that promote an understanding of Arab culture, politics, and aesthetic productions.

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

art history, cultural studies, gender and women's studies, literature, visual arts and writing.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: Tues.  9:30-12 (Lecture); 1-3 (seminar) Wed. 9:30-1 Films/Workshop Thurs. 9:30-12 (Lecture/Workshop); 1-3 (group synthesis or seminar)


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$150 for entrance fees.


Date Revision
April 30th, 2014 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 48


Course Reference Number not yet available.

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