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Gender and Identity in North Africa: Postcolonialism and Feminism in Maghrebi Women's Literature

Gender and Identity in North Africa: Postcolonialism and Feminism in Maghrebi Women's Literature

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Literary fiction has always provided an outlet for social and political critique. In the writing of key North African women authors, the dissection of Maghrebi society is at the very heart of the narratives. Here, Abdelkader Cheref charts the rise of postcolonial literature written by women from the Maghreb, and provides the first comparative analysis of three of the region's most prominent contemporary authors: Assia Djeba (Algeria), Leila Abouzeid (Morocco) and Souad Guellouz (Tunisia). These writers are united in their depictions of a post-independence socio-political malaise in the Maghreb; their explorations of marginalised women's voices; and, their own quests for their voices to be heard beyond the rigid constraints of patriarchy. This book is essential comparative reading for students and researchers wishing to understand the connections between literature, history and culture in postcolonial North Africa.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Women Writers in the Maghreb: The Triumph of the 'Muzzled'
  • The Representation of the Subaltern and Importance of Community: Leila Abouzeid's 'Year of the Elephant'
  • Resistance and Self-Fulfilment: Assia Djebar's 'A Sister to Scheherazade'
  • Women's Life-Writing: The Sense of Geographic, Cultural and Social Displacement in Souad Guellouz's 'La Vie Simple'
  • Conclusion

Author Info

Abdelkader Cheref is an Algerian academic who was educated in Algeria, the UK and the US. He started his PhD in Comparative Literature as a Fulbright grantee at the University of Texas at Austin, and completed it at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. He has worked as Lecturer in African-American and Maghrebi Literatures in Algeria and in Dubai. He is currently Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Limerick in Ireland. His research interests are in comparative Anglophone, Arabophone and Francophone postcolonial literatures, cultural traditions, gender and the intersection of the ‘public’ and the ‘personal’.


Dr. Abdelkader Cheref’s book…is a major contribution to the fields of comparative postcolonial literature, gender, Mediterranean and Middle East Studies...[The] book aims both to shed light on and to foster debates about gender and identity and their meaning in the social sciences and humanities. With its overview of texts, contexts and criticism of North African Francophone and Arabophone literature, Gender and Idenity in North Africa is engaging and insightful. This book is essential reading for anybody wishing to comprehend the multifaceted links between literature, history and culture in contemporary North Africa.
– Dr M. Cinta Ramblado-Minero, Associate Head of School (Academic Affairs), School of Languages, Culture and Communication, University of Limerick

Gender and Identity in North Africa: Postcolonialism and Feminism in Maghrebi Women’s Literature is a remarkably significant book. It is informative and skillfully written. This study provides academics, students and the general public with key critical ideas about the Maghreb (North Africa)...Addressing the thorny issues of gender and identity, [this] is a capital contribution to the field of comparative literature, postcolonial studies, Arabophone and Francophone Maghrebi literature and Middle East studies within a theoretical framework rooted in literary theory.
– Dr Anne V. Cirella-Urrutia, Department of Humanities & Fine Arts – French Studies, Huston-Tillotson University

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd

ISBN: 9781848854499
Publication Date: 29 Aug 2010
Number of Pages: 224
Height: 216
Width: 134

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