CRN25840-ENGL3150-04/ CRN 23880 INST4990-01 SYLLABUS World Literature: Arabic/Modern Arabic Poetry and Culture introduces modern Arabic poetry as a culturally privileged mode of expression. Stylistic analysis of poetic text will be used as a window into Arab culture and thought and a platform to compare poetic currents in the Arab world and elsewhere. English is the language of the course.
Semester: Spring 2015
Instructor: Prof. Ali H. Raddaoui
Office: Ross Hall 131
Office Hours: M-W-F: 11:00-11:50–RH 131
(and by appt.)
Course Introduction Modern Arabic Poetry and Culture introduces students to the world of Arabic poetry as a privileged medium of expression among Arab elites and the average person as well as a window into the modern Arab Weltanschauung. Much class time will be devoted to stylistic analysis of poetic text in order to determine the linguistic and stylistic choices poets make to achieve effect on the reader/listener. Enhancing student understanding of the Arab cultural, political, and social context will be attained through rigorous text analysis rather through subjecting the text to a preconceived, external understanding. Where appropriate, comparisons will be made between poetic currents in the Arab world and elsewhere.
While there are no specific prerequisites for this course, it is important that enrollees have had previous exposure to the language of poetry and the toolbox of stylistic analysis. Reference will occasionally be made to the original Arabic text, but prior knowledge of Arabic is not required. Ability to actively participate in class discussions and to write at an advanced level of English fluency and accuracy is important. This course is cross-listed with ENGL3150, and will be taught in English.
This course, Modern Arabic Poetry and Culture, focuses on major themes and styles of Arabic poetry and introduces you for the most part to the works of major Arab poets of the past two centuries. In contrast to the totality of Arabic poetry since before Islam, Modern Arabic poetry is best described as a field of on-going experimentation with a new set of topics, concerns, inspirations and forms. Naturally, this course includes a comparative component with Western poetic trends, since the so-called Arab literary renaissance has come about partly from greater exposure by modern poets of the Arab East to these Western trends during the past two centuries.
Following a brief sampling of classical, pre-Islamic and early Islamic poetic traditions, we will briefly visit the poetic production of Muslim Andalusia in present-day Spain. From then, we focus on modern Arabic poetry proper. We will study the poetic verse or the prose poetry of the Mahjar poets, i.e., those that migrated to the American continent from the late 19th century mainly from the Levant area. Finally, and for the bulk of this course, we examine a wide range of samples of Arabic poetry written since the 1940s.
How you should approach this course
As you start this course of Modern Arabic Poetry and Culture, think of it as a journey of discovery. You are traveling to a part of the world about which you have a certain knowledge, knowledge you have gained from different sources including school, the media, history and the study of religion. Much of this knowledge comes from second-hand reports, i.e. what the media, people and authorities are saying about the Arab world, its images, representations, hopes and problems. In other words, this is a mediated image, a projection, made and written about this vast world by Arabs and mostly non-Arabs.
What this course does is to expose you to primary materials, stuff written by highly literate Arab poets themselves, about themselves and about the others in our universe. This will be an opportunity for you to compare your prior knowledge with the knowledge you are gaining from first-hand accounts. To do this, you have to treat each poem as authentic data that will help create and paint your own image of Arab culture through its literature. Your newly painted image is an-going project, an outline whose contours will gain in clarity, depth and resolution as you progress in your journey.
As this course title indicates, we will be looking at modern Arabic poetry and culture. Since the course is cross-listed with English, there is a need for a comparative component between Arabic poetry, its themes, currents, and inspirations and other poetries written in English or other languages. Given the above, I suggest we look at each we piece following four analytical frames that I call the four Cs: Choices, Content, Culture, and Comparisons. “Choices” refers to the stylistic elements selected by the poet (rhyme, alliteration, consonance, lexical registers, structural patterns, deviations from grammar, personification, images, metaphors, etc.). Poets make choices to effect specific meanings, in other word the Contents, themes and ideas of the poem. We will assume throughout that there is unity of purpose, and that the choices corroborate the contents, and vice versa. The third frame will be Culture. Every piece of writing is the product of a given culture, both in the broad national sense as well as in the idiosyncratic sense of culture as being the worldview of the poet him/herself in the particular locale he writes in or about. Finally, any piece of writing invites Comparisons on an international scale. This comparative effort has the merit of integrating your newly acquired knowledge of Arabic culture with your previous acquisitions.
I would like that you think of this course as an experiment, a theater in which we try to develop a style of learning where you as an individual student and class a whole develop heightened understanding of the matter at hand though a sequence of analytical stages. Each stages serves as necessary groundwork for and a springboard for the next. Conceive of our work as a Venn Diagram, with smaller circles expanding into wider spheres with every activity we do.
Here is how the process works: you will come to class prepared with your own reading and understanding of the poem. After an out loud reading and a few preliminary comments, class divides in two/three groups. Each group will pool its resources and develop an understanding of the text. Following this, we start a whole class discussion to which each group/student and the teacher contribute so we develop a collective understanding. You are welcome to use this understanding in writing your analyses of the poems, but you are naturally invited to enrich it with your own readings and personal interpretations.
The anthology we are using for this course, and from the majority of the poems is taken is the following:
An Anthology of Modern Arabic Poetry. 1974. Khouri, Mounah A and Algar, Hamid. Berkley and Los Angeles University of California Press.
I have prepared a PDF document with copies of all the poems we will study this term. This document is strictly for class use, and will be available for you to download from the UW Canvas platform. The readings below are available online from the UW Coe Library or from the internet.
Flood , Anne Marie, and Mawr, Bryn. (2008, Fall). Riding the She-Camel into the Desert. Retrieved from:http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/Linguistics/Theses09/Flood.pdf
Khouri, Mounah A., 1970. Lewis 'Awad: A Forgotten Pioneer of the Free Verse Movement. Access: UW online library: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4182862
Loya, Rieh. The Detribalization of Arabic Poetry. International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Apr., 1974), pp. 202-215. UW Library online access: http://www.jstor.org/stable/162590
New York Metropolitan Museum. Powerless Before Love – Arabic and Persian Poetic Traditions: The Metropolitan Museum of Art – A video production. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_mmLhJqLnE
Preminger, Alex; Brogan, T. V. F.; Warnke, Frank J.; Hardison Jr, O. B, Miner, Earl. Introduction to Arabic Poetry: Allen, Roger M. A. Arabic Poetry. Editor of Volume: The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993. xlvi, 1383 p. Source: Literature Online Access: UW Library: http://lion.chadwyck.com.libproxy.uwyo.edu/searchFulltext.do?id=R00793346&divLevel=0&trailId=142572F89F6&area=ref&forward=critref_ft
Simawe, Saadi A. Modernism & metaphor in contemporary Arabic poetry, World Literature Today; Spring 2001; 75, 2; pg. 275-284. Access: UW online access. http://search.proquest.com/docview/209391428
Language: English is the language of communication in class between students and the instructor or among students themselves. On rare occasions, we will need to introduce Arabic terms or concepts, or read out a poem in Arabic. In such cases a thorough explanation in English will be provided.
Attendance: UW Regulation 6-713 specifies that University sponsored absences are cleared through the Office of Student Life (OSL). Students with official authorized absences shall be permitted to make up work without penalty in classes missed. Beyond that, students are allowed to miss a maximum of three classes without penalty. Any unexcused absence beyond the first three will be penalized with two points off the total grade for the semester.
Communication: Announcements, assignments, and other information for the course will be posted on the course website in a timely manner. I may need to send a message with information about the class to your UWYO email account, so check it periodically. If you need to email me, always use your UWYO account. If you want a timely response please send emails Monday-Friday between 10:30 am - 5:00 pm.
Behavior: Creating an atmosphere conducive to learning, growth and personal as well collective fulfillment is the combined responsibility of the course instructor and the students. A committee of UW students and instructors met and drafted a set of guidelines which spell out optimal conditions for communication and detail expectations for both students and instructors. For more on this, you are strongly encouraged to read the document titled “A&S Students and Teachers—Working Together”, which you can access at: http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/a&s/Current/default.asp. In general, distractions, negative attitudes, unwillingness to participate, and disruptive behavior will negatively affect your participation grade.
Academic dishonesty: Though class work can take the form of pair or group work, there will be times when students are specifically requested to do individual work, such as during quizzes and in the final examination. In such circumstances, seeking help from anyone else falls under the rubric of ‘academic dishonesty’. University Regulation 802, Revision 2, defines academic dishonesty as “an act attempted or performed which misrepresents one’s involvement in an academic task in any way, or permits another student to misrepresent the latter’s involvement in an academic task by assisting the misrepresentation.” The discovery of any academic dishonesty in this course will result in a failure (F) on the test or work concerned for anyone involved.
Disability support: Students who have a physical, learning or psychological disability that requires accommodations should notify the instructor as soon as possible after the semester begins. These students will need to register with and provide documentation of their disability to University Disability Support Services in SEO, Room 330 Knight Hall.
Syllabus & Calendar: This syllabus and calendar are subject to change as the instructor will most likely need to make adjustments to the pace and content of the course. The instructor will update the syllabus & calendar as needed in order to keep you informed, but you must follow it throughout the semester.
Assessment and Passing Requirements
For this class, the dividing line between assessment and learning is blurred. What the course instructor asks you to complete by way of assessment will also constitute a product illustrating your learning. Learning is an on-going project that culminates in a tangible product. This can be in the form of poem analysis, an individual poem you compose in response to a poem analyzed in class, or even a reading aloud of a selection of poems studied in class. In this sense, assessment is not an individual activity that you undertake with and for the instructor separately from class, but requires that you partake in the overall discussion and are aware of what is being said, read, and written in the sphere of the class.
Please note the following:
Each of you will prepare two short oral presentations in which you share your understanding of the work done on the poems/materials studied during the week. Finally,
You will prepare audio recordings of 10 poems of your choice which you will submit to the instructor. Recordings submitted after the dates shown below will not win you any points.
You must complete homework assignments no later than 23:59 pm on the due date as per the schedule below. Late submissions will not be accepted.
Late submissions of the end of term paper will result in losing five points on each day of delay.
Introduction to Arabic Poetry: Allen, Roger M. A. Arabic Poetry. Editor(s) of Volume: Preminger, Alex; Brogan, T. V. F.; Warnke, Frank J.; Hardison Jr, O. B.; Miner, Earl. Title of volume: The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993. xlvi, 1383 p. Source: Literature Online
Access: UW Library: http://lion.chadwyck.com.libproxy.uwyo.edu/searchFulltext.do?id=R00793346&divLevel=0&trailId=142572F89F6&area=ref&forward=critref_ft (Links to an external site.)
Imru?u Al-Qais: Stop, oh my friends, let us pause to weep قفا نبك
Medieval Sourcebook: Pre-Islamic Arabia: The Hanged Poems, before 622 CE
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/640hangedpoems.asp#The%20Poem%20of%20Imru-Ul-Quais (Links to an external site.)
Abu Nuwwas: Censure me not for your censure but tempts me دع عنك لومي
Flood , Anne Marie, and Mawr, Bryn. (2008, Fall). Riding the She-Camel into the Desert http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/Linguistics/Theses09/Flood.pdf (Links to an external site.)
Powerless Before Love – Arabic and Persian Poetic Traditions: The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_mmLhJqLnE (Links to an external site.)
Al-Mutabbi: My heart burns for he whose heart grows cold واحر قلباه ممن قلبه شبم
Flood , Anne Marie, and Mawr, Bryn. (2008, Fall). Riding the She-Camel into the Desert
http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/Linguistics/Theses09/Flood.pdf (Links to an external site.)