Modern Tunesian Literatures

Do29Sep(Sep 29)11:00Fr30(Sep 30)15:45Modern Tunesian LiteraturesInterdisciplinary WorkshopVeranstaltungsartWorkshop


This Dahlem Junior Host Project will be realised as a two-day in-person workshop co-hosted at Freie Universität Berlin by the Dahlem Junior Host Hanan Natour (Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies) and by Professor Mohamed-Salah Omri (University of Oxford) on 29–30 September 2022. The Dahlem Junior Host Program allows early career researchers of the humanities to invite international scholars to Freie Universität Berlin, thereby initiating long-term collaborations and building a research profile within their field. This project received the full grant support.

It aims to explore modern Tunisian literatures in the facets of all the country’s languages and traditions – from Arabic to Francophone, from fusḥā to dārijah, from written to oral. The workshop is intended to be subsequently developed into an English-language edited volume on Modern Tunisian Literatures whose ambition it is to set the ground for an in-depth debate focusing on the literary voices of a society thus far studied predominantly for its other facets, including politics, economics, and international relations. The original contributions by the invited speakers specialising in Tunisian literatures will explore the specificities of Tunisian literature in the modern period, i.e., its multilingualism between Arabic, French, and the Tunisian dialect, its political awareness, the fluid development of its different genres, and its different literary historical periods from the end of French colonialism to the contemporary democracy.We kindly ask participants to register for the event in advance here, whether they wish to attend both workshop days or can only join in part. We look forward to sharing our conversation on modern Tunisian literatures with you.

Dahlem Junior Host:

Hanan Natour is a German-Palestinian PhD candidate at Freie Universität Berlin and research associate at the ERC-funded project “PalREAD – Country of Words: Reading and Reception of Palestinian Literature from 1948 to the Present”. Her doctoral research focuses on “Narratives of Liberation, Emancipation, and Decoloniality in Contemporary Tunisian Arabic Prose”.


Mohamed-Salah Omri is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow at St. John’s College. His key research interests include modern Arabic literature in relation to its past, to its socio-political contexts and to world literature, particularly regarding issues of narrative form, cultural politics, and comparative literature. He has published extensively on Tunisian fiction, life writing, and poetry.


Lamia Benyoussef is Associate Professor in Arabic Studies at Birmingham-Southern College. After completing her BA in English at L´École Normale Supérieure de Sousse she graduated with an MA and Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University. Her research interests include postcoloniality, feminist theory, and African literature. She has published several essays and translations of Tunisian writing.

Hager Ben Driss is Associate Professor at the University of Tunis. She teaches Anglophone literature and her research interests center on gender and postcolonial studies. She edited Knowledge: Trans/Formations (2013), Women, Violence, and Resistance (2017), and Mobilizing Narratives: Narrating Injustices of (Im)Mobility (2021). She published several articles on Arabic and Tunisian literature and translated numerous Tunisian poems into English. 

William Granara is Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at Harvard University’s departments of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Comparative Literature, and is currently the director of its Center for Middle Eastern Studies. He specialises in the literature and history of the Arab Mediterranean in both the medieval and modern periods. He has published extensively on Tunisian literature before 1950 in particular.

Benjamin Koerber is Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Rutgers University.  He is the author of Conspiracy in Modern Egyptian Literature (Edinburgh University Press, 2018), and translator of the Arabic novel Using Life (Istikhdam al-Haya, 2014), written by Ahmed Naji and illustrated by Ayman Al Zorkany. At present, he is researching the history of vernacular Arabic literature in North Africa, with a focus on Tunisia.

Douja Mamelouk is Associate Professor of Arabic and French and the Program Director of Middle East and Islamic Studies at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY. She received her Bachelor of Arts at Willamette University, her Master’s degree at the American University of Cairo and her Ph.D. at Georgetown University. She is working on a monograph concerning the making of the modern Tunisian man in women’s texts. Her latest articles engaged with Tunisian oral culture, female narratives of the revolution, and the Tunisian Avant-Garde.

Charlotte Pardey graduated with a PhD in Arabic Literature and Culture, focusing on contemporary Tunisian Arabic and French novels from the University of Marburg. Her dissertation was recently published under the title Oscillating Bodies. Understanding Tunisian Society through its Novels (1956-2011) (Reichert Verlag, 2022). She is currently an editor for the magazine “Forschung & Lehre”, published by the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (Deutscher Hochschulverband).

Siobhán Shilton is Professor of French Studies and the Visual Arts at the University of Bristol. Her research and teaching interests lie in cultural encounters (particularly in France, the Maghreb and West Africa) in late twentieth- and twenty-first-century photography, video, graffiti, graphic novels, installation, performance art and literature. She has also published on art and the ‘Arab Uprisings’. Her most recent book is Art and the Arab Spring: Aesthetics of Revolution and Resistance in Tunisia and beyond (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

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29. September 2022 11:00 - 30. September 2022 15:45(GMT+02:00)

Freie Universität Berlin

Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin

Freie Universität Berlin