Professor Meital Orr of Georgetown University will speak on “The ‘Other’ in Israeli-Arab Literature.” The lecture is co-sponsored by the Am Yisrael Chai Committee, Sisterhood, Men’s Club, and the Library Committee.
This talk will probe the most invested views of the Jewish “other” in the literature of Arabs, both Palestinian and Israeli. From even before the inception of the state of Israel until today, the Arabs in the region have struggled with Jewish presence, and the political battle has become internalized both psychologically and artistically in their literature. The depictions of the Jew have been both overt and covert – and as diverse as their writers. They range from “ally” to “enemy,” “lover” to “occupier,” “outsider” to “other” – with each of these concept’s attendant complexities. Orr will ask (and try to answer) questions such as: What have been the major thematic depictions of the Jew in Arab literature? How have the depictions changed over time, why have they changed, and which authors initiated the changes? What are some contemporary depictions today, and what kind of prognosis might we venture about future directions? Authors to be covered include Emile Habiby, Ghassan Kanafani, Mahmoud Darwish, Sahar Khalifeh, Tawfiq Fayyad, Samir El-Youssef, and Sayed Kashua.