Emily Drumsta

Emily Drumsta is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley. Her research and teaching interests include Modern Arabic Literature and Culture, Pre-modern Arabic Literature, Maghrebi Literature and Culture, Literary Translation, and Critical Theory. Her dissertation, “The Poetics of Investigation: Mystery and Metafiction in Late Twentieth Century Fiction from Morocco to Iraq,” examines the use of the mystery investigation as an allegory of reading and mode of political critique in several Arabic and Francophone novels since the nineteen-seventies. Emily is the recipient of a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship for Graduate Study (2009-2014), a fellowship from the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo (2010-2011), and Sultan Fellowship for Arab Studies (2014). She is co-founder and co-managing editor of Tahrir Documents, an online archive of pamphlets, broadsides, and newspapers collected in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and published alongside English translations.  Her translations have previously been published in the Trinity Journal of Literary Translation, McSweeney’s, Jadaliyya, and Circumference. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Brown University (2006).

Emily Drumsta’s project:

Inconstant Constantine: Physical Landscapes and Literary Paradigms in Algerian Fiction from the 1990s

In this project, which will constitute a chapter of my doctoral dissertation, I examine how two works of Algerian literature from the nineteen-nineties use narrative self-reflection and metafiction to offer new paradigms for thinking memory, historiography, and identity in the Maghreb. The works in question are Assia Djebar’s Le blanc de l’Algérie (1995) and Aḥlām Mustaghānimī’s Dhākirat al-jasad (1993). Though written in different languages and addressing quite different audiences, both Le blanc de l’Algérie and Dhākirat al-jasad deal with the interrelated problems of collective memory, historiography, and language at a time in Algerian history when these issues were hotly contested. In Le blanc de l’Algérie, Djebar inflects history with autobiography and mixes mourning with melancholia to offer a new and perhaps only preliminary, personal, or partial literary history of Algeria. Her confessional, impressionistic, and fragmentary style aims not to correct, but rather to disrupt and displace the notion of authoritative history. In Dhākirat al-jasad, meanwhile—a novel narrated from the point of view of a writer who is himself struggling to write a novel—Mustaghānimī dramatizes the problems of narrative representation itself, which can serve either as a crucial, life-sustaining mode of self-assertion and transmission (for history’s victims), or as a tool for consolidating and exercising power (for history’s victors). In both works, a present moment fraught with political tension serves as the occasion for a meditation on the past, which occurs not through unified historical reflection, but through the fragmentary processes of memory and auto-narration. Part of a larger dissertation project on the political role of self-reflexive fiction in French- and Arabic-language novels from Morocco to Iraq, “Inconstant Constantine” examines the specific literary forms and paradigms through which women writers question the premises of history, narrativization, and their role in the consolidation of power, whether colonial or post-colonial.



OpenEdition suggests that you cite this post as follows:
Barbara Bishay (July 22, 2014). Emily Drumsta. eume-city. Retrieved July 21, 2024 from https://doi.org/10.58079/ol4h

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