Crown Center for Middle East Studies

Exportability and Context: Reading Arabic Literature in the West

A Crown Seminar with Hosam Aboul-Ela in conversation with Mona Kareem

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 (Video Available)

How is Arabic literature repackaged for European and American audiences? What is the translator's role? How do writers, translators, and other artists navigate between craft and vocation? In this Crown Seminar, Hosam Aboul-Ela, in conversation with Mona Kareem, will discuss the "exportability" of Arabic literature by looking at the work of Egyptian novelist Sonallah Ibrahim in its Arabic, French, and English versions. Aboul-Ela argues the term “exportability” speaks to the challenges of understanding the novels of Ibrahim in their original context and reimagining them in the different contexts into which they are translated.

Hosam Aboul-Ela is a professor of English and the AAEF/Burhan and Misako Ajuz Professor of Arab Studies at the University of Houston.
Mona Kareem, moderator, is a junior research fellow at the Crown Center.
Naghmeh Sohrabi, chair, is the director for research at the Crown Center and the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History.

Co-sponsored by the Mandel Center for the Humanities at Brandeis.