Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Writing Self, Writing Nation: Imagined Geographies in the Fiction of Hanan al-Shaykh


Ann Marie Adams

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2001


Given the current critical climate, it may seem a bit problematic to center a study of contemporary fiction on the theme of the nation. Amid the fluxes and flows of an admittedly uneven globalization process, the nation, as a geopolitical reality and as an ideology, seems to be rendered increasingly obsolete. While this trend is manifest in much more than literary analysis, this "worldly" supersedence of the nation is clearly delineated in the study of contemporary literature, which has rejected the seemingly out- moded notion of national traditions and replaced it with a nuanced under- standing of a mobile and shifting "world literature." This new methodology is particularly evident in the study and the reception of "Third World"/"Southern"/"Non-Western" literatures because it is in these cultural contexts that the gaps and fissures of (recently imposed) national constructs are most clearly seen and hence where the ideological poverty of the nation is purportedly most visible. Although there is little consensus on how to categorize these so-called "minority" literatures (gestured to in the list of alternate appellations above), there is nonetheless a tacit understanding that national configurations are an imperfect lens through which these increasingly studied literatures can be understood