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The Lesbian Subjectivity in Contemporary Arabic Literature: Between Discipline and Punishment
Mellon Minorities in the Middle East & North Africa Series
A lecture by Dr. Iman Al-Ghafari, moderated by Robert J. Farley (UCLA)
Friday, April 16, 2021
11:00 AM (Pacific Time)
Lesbian subjectivities have persistently been neglected, suppressed, misrepresented, or portrayed through the lenses of the inherited and recycled moral views in the mainstream Arab, Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures. In such oppressive socio-political contexts, the independent lesbian subjectivity remains engulfed within the heterosexual morality of the ‘closet’ that advocates invisibility. Deprived of the means and tools of self-representation, how can the lesbian subjectivity become a speaking subject? And to what extent it is possible for daily discursive practices in Contemporary Arabic cultures or to the formal disciplinary narratives of Arabic literature to give a self-assertive voice to the autonomous lesbian subjectivity.
Dr. Iman Al-Ghafari is a doctor of literature, a researcher, a lesbian poet, a writer, an illustrator, and a literary translator. She received her Ph.D. with first class honors on “The Quest for Identity in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath: A Feminist Approach.” From 2012-2014, She was hosted as a post-doctoral researcher in Amsterdam research Centre for Gender and Sexuality. She has lectured widely on lesbian poetry. She has many publications about lesbian issues in Contemporary Middle Eastern cultures and literature. Her works include poetry, essays, short stories, academic articles and literary translations. She has received several grants and fellowships for her writings. In 2017, she won Natur and Kultur prize in Sweden.
Robert J. Farley is a Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature at UCLA, writing a dissertation on digital magazines, archives, and the contemporary emergence of kwīr in Arabic. He works as an Arabic scholar, translator, and consultant in instructional technology and design, digital research in the humanities, and cultural representation.