Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature, University of Massachusetts / Amherst

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Literature, Yale University
In the Spirit of Bandung: The Comparative Evolution of Postcolonial Literatures in Indonesia, Egypt, and Senegal (1905 to Present)

My dissertation in Comparative Literature at Yale will draw on my language abilities in Arabic, Indonesian, and French to explore an as yet unwritten, parallel history comparing the modern literatures of Indonesia, Senegal and Egypt. (These three national literatures effectively function in my dissertation as case studies in the evolution of postcolonial literature in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.) For all three literatures, the dissertation traces and examines critical historical moments through which the contours of literary nationalism are initially posited and subsequently challenged by ideologically informed, transnational literary movements (communism and Islamism), with the aim of ultimately reassessing the faultlines of literary nationalism in terms independent of the prevalent "colonial/postcolonial" binary. A primary reason for this combination of national literatures can be found in the shared Islamic religious heritage (among the majority of writers) of the three nations considered. In this respect, the position of Egypt, Senegal, and Indonesia at the center and periphery of a literary realm with a common Islamic (religious, Arabic) textual tradition offers an additional basis for comparison.