Bentahar, Ziad

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    Review Minorities and the Modern Arab World: New Perspectives by Laura Robson
    (Canadian Comparative Literature Association, 2017) Bentahar, Ziad; Towson University. Department of Foreign Languages
    The Arab World continues to be too often gazed upon as though it were a monolith, despite decades of knowledge production aiming for the subversion of such reductive yet tenacious views. The very phrase “The Arab World,” which remains the proper expression used to refer to the region, suggests a singular world of its own, separate and insular, but also consistent in its peculiar features. The implication is not only that it is distinct from other “Worlds” (including, presumably, the “Western World”), but also that its inhabitants are the same wherever they are found across a remarkably vast geography, and of whatever walk of life they may be, while attributes such as complexity, diversity, and heterogeneity are the monopoly of The West. This is the sort of outlook that this book of essays edited by Laura Robson challenges by contributing new perspectives on the various manners in which “minority,” as an identity, functions in an Arab context.
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    Approaches to teaching the works of Naguib Mahfouz
    (Indiana University Press, 2015) Bentahar, Ziad; Towson University. Department of Foreign Languages
    In this case, the editors of the volume on Mahfouz offer a collection of outlooks that may assist the addition of a Mahfouz work to a survey course, or even the development of an entire seminar on the author, a decidedly feasible endeavor given the breadth of his oeuvre. Well aware of the delicate burden that is placed on Mahfouz when he is, thus, desig­nated to stand for a complex literary and cultural tradition, the editors of this book offer a balanced introduction to the author by simultaneously presenting him as ambassador of Arabic literature at-large, as well as offering entry points into specific aspects of his works.
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    Beyond harem walls: redefining women's space in works by Assia Djebar, Malek Alloula and Fatima Mernissi
    (Brill, 2009-01-01) Bentahar, Ziad; Towson University. Department of Foreign Languages
    Orientalist and colonial representations of harems have resulted in the association of North African women with domestic confinement. North African authors such as Assia Djebar (1980), Malek Alloula (1981) and Fatima Mernissi (1994), however, suggest that this view is biased. While focusing largely on Fatima Mernissi’s memoir, Dreams of Trespass, this article builds on these authors’ exploration of the various ways in which women of the Maghreb are portrayed, in order to provide a clearer understanding of the dynamics of women’s space in the context of colonial North Africa.
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    Frantz Fanon: traveling psychoanalysis and colonial Algeria
    (University of Manitoba, 2009-09) Bentahar, Ziad; Towson University. Department of Foreign Languages
    Although Frantz Fanon's writings were intimately tied to colonial Algeria, his reflections have found resonance among a wide variety of audiences because of their theoretical and ideological value. Possibly, Fanon's limited proximity to Algerian culture and society contributed to the relevance of his writings elsewhere. This essay argues that, in spite of Fanon's involvement in the struggle for Algerian independence, his position in North Africa remained that of an outsider.
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    Location of memory: diachronic and synchronic Alibism and Hui identity
    (University of Iowa, 2016) Bentahar, Ziad; Towson University. Department of Foreign Languages
    Among China's various Muslim groups, the Hui stand out on the basis of their ethnicity, history and location, and are considered unlike the Turkic groups in Western territories. The Hui are not confined to a definite region but are present throughout China, and exist in continuous juxtaposition with other groups. For this reason, they determine their identity by simultaneous associations to an exogenous tradition that differentiates them from other Chinese groups, and to endogenous elements that situate them as inherently Chinese. This position of the Hui at the intersection of two presumably mutually-exclusive cultural spheres, namely Muslim and Chinese, results in mode of identity formation, which I call Alibism, and in which identity is founded on the basis of perpetual deferment to an alternative location.
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    Continental drift: the disjunction of north and sub-Saharan Africa
    (Indiana University Press, 2011-01) Bentahar, Ziad; Towson University. Department of Foreign Languages
    Research and popular imaginative views of Africa in the last few decades have tended to leave out the northern region, even when referring to the continent as a whole. In many academic disciplines, “Africa” and “The Arab World” are mutually exclusive labels, and separating between North and sub-Saharan Africa has become accepted to such an extent that it has shaped our perception of African Studies as a field. How have literatures of the two regions come to be separated and so rarely studied together despite strong links caused by geographic proximity? Why have scholars of African literatures focused largely on sub-Saharan Africa? To begin answering these questions, it is necessary not only to address literary matters—including issues such as the impact of the publishing industry in codifying a canon of African literature, but also to consider factors relating to the political climate of the twentieth century.
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    Tintin in the Arab world and Arabic in the world of Tintin
    (Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta, 2012) Bentahar, Ziad; Towson University. Department of Foreign Languages
    "My purpose is not to make gratuitous assumptions about the political intentions of Dar al-Maarif, or reveal any sinister agenda behind (self-)censorship trends among Egyptian publishers. Rather, it is to show how the editorial choices in the Arabic translations of Tintin’s stories—even when this choice is to not translate them—are revealing not only of issues pertaining to the representation of the language in Hergé’s works, but also of peculiar cultural challenges in exposing one of Belgium’s most recognizable characters to Islamic and Arabic-speaking audiences. Moreover, when examining the Arabic that Hergé included in the original Tintin books written in French, not only do I mean to contribute to scholarship about Hergé and his art in general, and more specifically his realist tendencies through an assessment of the accuracy of the Arabic he employed, but I also will consider the ways in which Tintin books can be experienced by bilingual readers (who know Arabic but read the books in French or English for example)." From page 42.