Calls for basic freedoms, democratic institutions, and social and economic equality have been some of the fundamental demands of protests that are currently sweeping through the Middle East.  While these agitated voices of popular dissent have frequently been suppressed in the public sphere in recent times across the region, and these voices have been severely restrained within the internal political discourse of many countries, Arabic poetry and prose, on the other hand, has enunciated clear articulations of dissent, as well as harsh criticism of the same political, economic and social systems that the protestors are now rallying against.  The panel will highlight a number of these important contemporary literary voices of dissent across the Arab world, from the Atlantic to the Gulf, and through the lens of various genres of Arabic literature.


William Granara, Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment, Director of Modern Language Programs Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations; Director, Moroccan Studies Program, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University:Reading Arabic fiction as social/political text and the Saudi Novel as political & social critique

Nevenka Korica, Preceptor in Arabic, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University: Poetry as Fuel for Revolt

Allison Blecker, PhD student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard:Egyptian Voices of Dissent through Khaled al-Khamissi's "Taxi"

Benjamin Smith, PhD Candidate in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Near East Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University:Moroccan Voices of Dissent from Ben Salem Himmich's "My Oppressor"

Co-sponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University and the Outreach Center at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies