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Kill your own babies and mothers, bomb planes with Americans on them…A-rab scum. Rather, it is that cultural pressures toward assimilation enact their own kind of violence. Stymied by the complexities of their mixed identities and the inability of those around them to understand that complexity, the protagonists struggle to find homes for themselves between Arab and American cultures. Similarly, in the novel Crescent , the Iraqi-American protagonist Sirine is distanced from her Arab identity and in search of a sense of self. Viewed as simply white because of her skin color, she experiences a constant sense of dislocation and homelessness.

The novel charts her search for a sense of homecoming to the complexity of her selfhood, a search played out through her relationship with an Iraqi exile. But invoking ready-made slots of identification avoids an actual engagement with the complexity of difference.

The Rise of Dystopian Fiction: From Soviet Dissidents to 70’s Paranoia to Murakami

In addition, a growing body of theoretical and crucial work on the subject is emerging. As the editors of this issue, Rabab Abdulhadi, Nadine Naber and Evelyn Alsultany, note, there is not a singular single site of Arab-American feminist struggle. Rather, discussions of Arab-American feminism break down stereotypes of gender oppression and identification, exile and belonging, and show feminism to be a multifaceted concept.

One viewpoint holds that Arab-American identity is a transplanted Arab identity, turning upon preservation of Arab culture, language, and sensibilities. Within both viewpoints lies the question of thematics. Some argue that Arab-American literature, to be called such, must be about specifically Arab-identified topics. Although such debates are not unique to Arab-American writers, one way in which Arab-Americn literature differs from many other ethnic literatures in its close engagement with political events overseas.

Indeed, it might be argued that Arab-American identity is a transnational rather a hyphenated identity. His poems traverse the U. The roads are long and long…. But exile is also extended back to the Arab context: Mattawa, now perceived as a foreigner in Cairo, argues with taxi drivers who refuse to believe that he is Arab. In exile, it is not possible to return: the lost home is gone forever.

Syrian-American Mohja Kahf has emerged as among the most vibrant of these. A dynamic, feisty writer who insists on critiquing as well as celebrating her own cultural contexts, whether Muslim, Arab or American, Kahf has a keen eye for the creative dissonance of seemingly incongruous juxtapositions.

But Emails from Scheherazad, conjures up an image of Scheherazad bent over a computer keyboard, veil flung back, manicured nails clacking as she types missives to American readers. After all, as Kahf makes clear, Muslim and Arab women in the U. This childhood incident becomes, for Kahf, an emblem of her life in the new world—her positioning in, but not quite of, the American landscape.

Caught between the competing requirements of memory and amnesia, the conflicting pull of old and new lands, the children navigate mutually exclusive worlds. The Indiana field is superimposed on the Syrian field; cornfield choirs and Arabic anthems come together in unlikely but vibrant counterpoint. Notably, Kahf does not just absorb and reflect the Frost dictum: she transforms it. For her, as for other Arab-Americans, it is not a matter of choosing one world over the other, Arab or American.

Rather, she insists that Arab-American identity exists at the point of crossing: the hyphen linking cultures, the gulch between worlds. Hers is not the dream of univocal identity, feet firmly rooted on one side of the divide, but rather the messy reality of hands stained with American berries, shoulders limned with Syrian dust. Kahf knows that it is not the choosing of one path, as Frost would have it, but the passing between both that makes all the difference. Her writing draws on both American colloquialisms and Quranic suras; it is informed by American free verse, with its tendency toward tonal subtleties and understated imagery, yet is imbued with an energy that draws on the heart of the Arabic oral tradition and Arabic poetry.

At times Kahf is very explicit about her intention to use Arabic influences to revitalize the English language. Drawing on Arabic not just for specific images and words, but also for its sheer exuberance, Kahf celebrates Arabic language and culture and identity even as she creates a new language that can negotiate the passage between Arab and American, making space for both without apology. In particular, a new generation of spoken word poets are bringing Arab-American voices into American performance spaces. Her writing, which links national and international contexts, moves from rage against sexual violence to anguish over Palestinian suffering to Arab-American experiences to social justice issues in the U.

Her ability to link disparate contexts has made hers among the most compelling of Arab-American contemporary voices. Charting the violations which Palestinians have endured as well as the racism encountered by Arab-Americans, she also engages directly with cultural self-criticism, critiquing sexism and racism within Arab communities. And she insists that U.

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But her desire is not for a romanticized space outside of history. Rather, she longs to go home to herself, and in the process to re-imagine the possibilities of self and history, political and personal agency. A writer whose work exemplifies this is Nathalie Handal, who negotiates questions of identity, community and selfhood within the framework of Palestinian exile.

Handal has long insisted on situating Arab-Americans not just within an insular U. Her edited anthology The Poetry of Arab Women identified Arab-American writers as members of the Arab diaspora, and in her own writing she wrestles with issues of bifurcated identity not just on U. Her second collection, The Lives of Rain , depicts with greater particularity the multiple facets of exile and Palestinian experiences.

In poems which are innovative and compelling, Handal explores the realities of political conflict and the possibilities of finding or creating home. Other poems chart, with devastating clarity, the violence with which Palestinians contend: the physical violence of war and occupation, the emotional repercussions on those who survive, and the intellectual violence which Palestinians encounter when they attempt to speak of their own historical and personal realities. This is a violence enacted not just against the body, but also against the spirit.

Languages and places intersect and collide, creating a sense of both richness and longing: Arabic and Spanish and French and English, Morocco and Mexico and the Caribbean and the Balkans and Miami and New York. Hers is an arrival composed of disjunctions and conjunctions, of fragmented perceptions whose resonance is cumulative. Khaled Mattawa has been in the forefront of calling for a move into genres traditionally underrepresented in Arab-American literature, especially fiction. The reasons for the dearth of narrative in Arab-American literature, Kaldas and Mattawa suggest, have been complicated.

Striking in this newer literature is a willingness to address gender issues and sexuality with more openness than previously. An increasing number of Arab-American playwrights are writing and producing plays, including Betty Shamieh, whose work has been produced off Broadway, and Jamil Khoury, co-founder of the Silk Road Theatre Project. A first-ever edited collection of Arab-American drama, underway, will assist in making Arab-American plays available to a reading public.

For some, Arab-American literature will always be about the narrative of leaving behind one identity and acquiring a new one. For others, Arab-American literature takes its place on a global canvas, as one component of a worldwide Arab diaspora in which cultural ties can be reinvigorated. Arab-American authors may disagree whether the past is something to recover, or to recover from, as Khaled Mattawa has put it.

But what is clear is that Arab-American ethnicity and expression is a matter not just of the past, but of the present and future. Arab-Americans have been making stories and poems for over a century, and increasingly the stories they make seek to remake the world they live in. The world that emerges is multifaceted, made of many cultural strands. Clearly, there has never been a singular home-space, one definition that will work for everyone. But as one examines the evolution of Arab-American literature over a century, it is clear that Arab-American authors have moved from a stance of defensiveness to self-assertion, producing literary texts that speak to their own realities and chart a space for their voices.

However, my discussion in this essay is limited to the U. Census Bureau. A similar literary organization, al Usba was formed by Arab immigrants in South America at about the same time. The Language of Baklava. New York: Random House, Alameddine, Rabih. I, the Divine. London: Phoenix, Bourjaily, Vance. Confessions of a Spent Youth. New York: The Dial Press, Blatty, William. The Exorcist. New York: Harper Collins, Which Way to Mecca, Jack? New York: Geis, Geha, Joseph. Through and Through: Toledo Stories.

Paul: Graywolf Press, Gibran, Kahlil. The Prophet. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, ; rpt. Hage, Rawi. Toronto: Anansi, Halaby, Laila. West of the Jordan. Boston: Beacon Press, Drops of This Story. New York: Rattapallax Press. The Lives of Rain. Northhampton: Interlink, The Neverfield Poem. Sausalito: The Post-Apollo Press, The Poetry of Arab Women. New York: Interlink, Hitti, Philip K. The Syrians in America. New York: George Doran Co, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, —. The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, Kaldas, Pauline. Egyptian Compass.

Cincinnati: Custom Words, Mattawa, Khaled. Zodiac of Echoes. Keene, NY: Ausable Books, Rihbany, Abraham Mitrie. A Far Journey. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Rizk, Salom. Syrian Yankee. Garden City, N. Serageldin, Samia. The Cairo House. Syracuse: Syracuse UP, Ward, Patricia Sarrafian.

The Bullet Collection. Lisa Suhair Majaj was one of the first, and remains one of the most insightful, scholars to explore Arab-American literature. Born in Hawarden, Iowa to a Palestinian father and an American mother, she was raised in Jordan and attended the American University of Beirut from which she received her B. Choose a Format. Streaming Included Free. Audio version now exclusively on Audible.

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  • The Post-Utopian Imagination.
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  • Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature?
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Understand the paradox of the term utopia," which means "no place," but is also a homonym for eutopia-a good or perfect place. Delaney, and more. Discover the subgenres associated with utopian and dystopia writings, such as the concept of euchronia," and learn how these new categories affect literature. Uncover the darkness behind seeming utopias and discover the hope that lives beneath the terror of dystopias as you deep dive into classics, blockbusters, and little known gems by: Jonathan Swift Louisa May Alcott Samuel Butler Ursula K.

Le Guin Edward Bellamy H. The Heavenly Places of Utopia Professor Bedore begins her study of utopian and dystopian storytelling with a look at utopia, the earlier of the two genres to be widely recognized. Two Sides of the Same Coin? The most powerful and enduring works covered in this course are often the result of examining particular tensions and contrasts like: Freedom vs.

Chaos vs. Kinetic vs. Intellectual vs. Hide Full Description. Average 31 minutes each.

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Enter the world of utopian and dystopian fiction. After a brief foray into the definition and origin of utopia, dive into Ursula K. Then, get a deeper understanding of the ways genre functions and how it shapes literature. Take a step back and learn about the origins of the utopian genre, beginning with Thomas More's Utopia of More's foundational work gave us the word "utopia," but did it create the genre? Explore the elements of the story to see how it set conventions for later works but also critiqued the very idea of utopia in the process. Continue your exploration of the early history of utopia by examining notable works produced during the two centuries following More's initial work.

Compare and contrast the ideas of classical "utopia" and "critical utopia" and understand how laughter was an integral part of 18th-century utopian storytelling, focusing on Voltaire's Candide and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. The 19th century was the century of "utopia" and also marked the transition from utopian to dystopian stories in popular literature.

Look at Americans who attempted to build real-world utopias, and in turn examine the work of two authors who reacted to the American attempt at perfect societies: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. Consider the ways that optimistic, utopian thinking is integral to the idea of the American Dream. Shift your attention from rural American utopias to explore from a different perspective: Victorian anxieties about technology and the vanishing frontier.

Analyze these fears in Samuel Butler's Erewhon, which utilizes utopian conventions and heavy doses of satire to critique religion, health, education, and humanity's increasingly complex relationship to machines. Can utopian literature have real-world impact? This question is integral to understanding the significance of Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy. Witness the ways Bellamy's socialist vision of the future had genuine influence on the social activists of Gilded Age America. Professor Bedore also introduces the idea of "euchronia"—a form of utopia set in a different time rather than a different place.

Unlike the utopian tradition, science fiction doesn't have a single text that defines its origin. It does, however, have several figures credited with its creation. One such figure is H. Wells, who not only helped in the creation of science fiction as a genre, but was also deeply devoted to utopian thinking. Ultimately, his work brought utopia and science fiction together in the same space, highlighting their intersections and their differences.

Many utopian stories were concerned with the "woman question," or the quest to determine where women belong in an ideal society. Charlotte Perkins Gilman went a step further by creating a utopian society populated solely by women: Herland. See how questions of gender equality are reframed without the reference of an opposite gender and the impact of Gilman's vision on the feminist movements of the later 20th century. Shift your attention from utopian blueprints to the cautionary tales of dystopia and explore the origins of the genre and the complex ways it functions in literature.

Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, published in , is the second of the "Big Three" dystopian novels of the interwar years. Investigate the ways Huxley projects the anxieties of his day onto the future, creating a world in which people are controlled not by pain or fear, but by pleasure, and consider how utopian and dystopia are often only matters of perspective. Perhaps the most famous of the three defining dystopias of the early 20th century, George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four has created a vocabulary of ideas we continue to use in political discourse today.

Trace the ways Orwell uses language to shape his dystopic vision and the way it both reflects and distorts reality. Published during the wave of anti-communist hysteria of the s, John Wyndham's The Chrysalids is one of the earliest examples of Young Adult dystopian fiction and a potent examination of the fear of the Other" in dystopian storytelling. See how it set the stage for the extremely rich strain of dystopian literature aimed at younger readers that dominates bestseller lists in the 21st century.

Examine the parallels between social and political issues that become prominently reflected in science fiction literature as utopias and dystopias become less independent of each other. Look at the portrayal of community, choice, and rules to determine when the sacrifices being made cross the threshold between a completely perfect society and a complete lack of freedom. As the genre starts to tackle "big" questions of philosophy around individual free will, the line blurs and we are left with dystopias that are dressed up to look like utopias.

Delve deeper into the central question of free will and how utopian studies respond emotionally and intellectually to this conundrum by examining A Clockwork Orange. Discover the literature that influenced it and was impacted by it, while exploring the nuanced differences between reading and watching this pivotal work. Burgess looks at extreme situations to pose questions we continue to struggle with, such as: What's the right balance between security and freedom?

Under what circumstances is it acceptable for the State to curtail individual freedoms? The feminist utopian movement began in the s and, despite the name, doesn't feature very many "traditional utopias. Delve into the science fiction-based worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, who approaches various situations with an open mind, drawing upon disciplines like physics, anthropology, and fine arts.

She builds worlds in which people attempt all kinds of strategies of governance, including no governance at all. Focusing on Trouble on Triton, explore the ways Delany introduces readers to ambiguous heterotopia through a society where your identity such as sex, race, religion, and sexual preference can easily be changed.

Investigate whether this abundance of individual freedom results in utopia or dystopia. None of Octavia Butler's writings fit perfectly into the categories of utopia or dystopia, but she is vital to this study because her utopian writing represents a turning point that moves us from the feminist utopian renaissance of the s to the more complex negotiation between utopian and dystopian impulses that helped shape the genres as they are today.

In the first of two lectures focused on her, delve into her usage of aliens to show the importance of working toward social change. Examine the many ways Butler challenges boundaries-not only of genres, but also of human identity. In this lecture, you'll see how she tackles the questions that are important in defining utopian futures: what does it mean to be human? Is utopia always an unresolvable paradox? And if it is, does it have to be?

How much can we change and still be considered human? And really, does being human even matter? Margaret Atwood is an icon in utopian and dystopian fiction. Explore the ways she has helped to shape utopian thought and sexual politics with one of her classic novels, The Handmaid's Tale, as well as her more recent MaddAddam trilogy. Atwood is known for apocalyptic writing but you'll see how even her darkest works have elements of humor and satire with intrinsic meaning.

Does it seem like a lot of the most popular books for young adults lately have been dystopias? In this lecture, explore why teens are so drawn to dystopia, what current anxieties are being tracked in this large body of YA literature, and what the impact of this literature on young adult readers has been. You'll also discover why this subgenre is so popular with adults. The cyberpunk genre was developed in the s and often features advanced information technology that allows much of the action to take place in cyber space rather than physical space, with an emphasis on the dangers and pleasures of the spaces between the cyber and physical worlds.

Through satire or in earnest, we get at the same anxieties about contemporary American society: the internet has amazing potential to create a better, more egalitarian world, but we may be going about it all wrong, creating not only a more oppressive world, but a new generation of young people who rely on technology without truly understanding it. Dive into the world of post-apocalyptic literature, which examines the aftermath of a cataclysmic event. Review the four major apocalyptic sources: technological, biomedical, environmental, or supernatural, and explore bodies of work that utilize each one.

You'll see how even the worst dystopian situations often sneak hopes of utopian thinking into the stories because humanity survives on a core of optimism that whispers that no matter how bad things get, we can imagine-and maybe even attain-something better. Reflect on how dystopia shows us the darker side of contemporary reality right here in our connected global world, focusing on issues we struggle with every day: totalitarian government, new technologies, economic disparity, control of sexuality, and environmental degradation.

Conclude with the recurring theme around utopian yearnings and the sinister road that leads to dystopia, proving that the perfect place is no place. This powerful genre embodies a simultaneous optimism and cynicism that is, perhaps, an inherent part of the human condition. Clone Content from Your Professor tab. What Does Each Format Include? Course Guidebook Details: page printed course guidebook Photographs and illustrations Questions to consider Suggested readings. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

Bedore has published widely on science fiction, detective fiction, and writing Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature is rated 4. Rated 5 out of 5 by Mar from Great lecturer I was worried this would be dry Date published: Rated 5 out of 5 by Ringcycle from Enthusiastic Presentation This course has been one of my favorites. The professor, Pamela Bedore, has an infectious, enthusiastic speaking style. I've been making a list as the course progressed, and I'm going to be busy for a long time. Professor Bedore also opened my eyes to many women authors with whom I was not familiar, and the fascinating perspectives these authors bring to the genre.

I felt that the on screen graphics greatly enhanced the presentation, although even just watching the professor's delivery of the info was fun - she may be reading from a teleprompter, but you wouldn't know it - she's just enjoying telling us all the different aspects of these books, and her enjoyment inspired me, while also providing much scholarly information.

Strongly recommended. Rated 5 out of 5 by Farzana from Excellent selection of presented material I just finished the course, and loved every minute of it! Really enjoyed the analysis of some of my favorite works of fiction.


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Great content, excellent and engaging presenter. Is it any wonder why at college campuses you can easily rent-a-mob? How about professors whose former students become financially successful and live in opulence -- while the same professors still rent a 1-bedroom apartment? One consistent theme in this utopia-dystopia course is: Any society that can pay its bills, put food on the table for family, and have some form of happiness or leisure -- is the [assured] DIRECT RESULT of someone else that is paying the price, robbed, disadvantaged, and utterly miserable.

This is shoved in our face in the beginning AND ending of this course…. Just fiction? The socialist peasant mentality believes only in a FIXED amount of money — pushed to one side of the table or the other. They have ZERO concept of wealth generation. One tyranny replaced by another tyranny. Yeah; sure. I could elaborate - but TGC only gives us so much space here. Go for it! Rated 3 out of 5 by erkaiser from Some worthy aspects, but generally disappointing I am a regular customer of the Great Courses, which generally are, well, great.

This course does offer some useful insights and is particularly valuable as a review of early works. Moreover, it introduced me to a couple of later novels 'We' and 'The Road' of which I was previously unaware and which are now on my 'must read' list. However, I agree with the primary critique of some other reviewers in that the professor is clearly more interested in grinding an ideological axe than with presenting dystopian and utopian literature per se. Specifically, her hobby horses are feminist and LGBT issues. Her choices of subject works are driven by these outlooks and her interpretation is almost entirely - certainly by the latter half of the course - filtered through these lenses.

It's a shame, because she is an engaging and personable lecturer. Rated 5 out of 5 by cameronmds from Exactly what you would expect which is good! Professor Bedore has constructed an excellent course touching on most of the famous utopian and dystopian works of literature. She begins logically with Thomas More and his famous work 'Utopia' which spawned the entire field.

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By lecture 9, we are in the 20th century and begin examining the famous dystopian triad of Zamyatin, Huxley, and Orwell. Overall, the trajectory of the course is highly efficient. All of the major works are covered and, although, Professor Bedore is obviously quite socially progressive, her political statements make good sense in the context of her lectures on feminist utopian literature.

Ending with 'Black Mirror,' was also a nice note. I have a number of Great Courses in the areas of science, math, and history.

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The description for this course was intriguing. Although I had read only a few of the works, this had been so long ago I had forgotten - and maybe never completely grasped - their full meaning. Being outside my primary area of interest I took a chance in making the purchase. A pre-purchase concern was whether one could appreciate these works and the shared information without having been previously exposed to them.

This concern was unfounded as the instructor provides background and the primary often detailed storylines in her presentation. The material is well structured, the topics mesh, and the instructor's enthusiasm in the subject is infectious. Some reviewers complained about socialist, feminist, or LGBT overtones. I a non-liberal male find such complaints meaningless in terms of course definition. The title accurately describes content and the stories - like all good stories of this genre - are meant to be a thought provoking commentary on a society and its people.

Interpret is you will - that is the point! I first took the course about a year ago. There is much to digest in these lectures and they are so enjoyable that I have started the series again. Also I have a cousin just graduating from high school and bound for college. I will be purchasing the course as a gift for her.

Marek Oziewicz

The visual version is the one I have reviewed and the one I would recommend. Rated 3 out of 5 by bobster from Interesting material The lecturer's Valley Girl style is off putting I'm in my 70's and distracts from the material. Mannered expressions like "Okaaaay! Eric S. Robert Garland. Molly Worthen. Play Video. Thank You! This email already exists. All rights reserved.