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Autobiographical Identities in Contemporary Arab Culture

Valerie Anishchenkova

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Explores developments in Arab autobiography over the last 40 years

This original exploration of Arab autobiographical discourse investigates various modes of cultural identity which have emerged in Arab societies in the last 40 years. During this period, autobiographical texts moved away from exemplary life narratives and toward more unorthodox techniques such as erotic memoir writing, postmodernist self-fragmentation, cinematographic self-projection and blogging. Valerie Anishchenkova argues that the Arabic autobiographical genre has evolved into a mobile, unrestricted category arming authors with narrative tools to articulate their selfhood.

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List of Transliterated Names
Introduction: Writing Arab Selfhood: From Taha Hussayn To Bloggers
1. Autobiography and Nation-Building: Constructing Personal Identity in the Postcolonial World
2. Writing Selves on Bodies
3. Mapping Autobiographical Subjectivity in the Age of Multiculturalism
4. Visions of Self: Filming Autobiographical Subjectivity
5. What Does My Avatar Say About Me? Autobiographical Cyber-Writing and Post-Modern Identity
Conclusion: Arab Autobiography in the 21st Century

About the Author

Dr. Valerie Anishchenkova received her PhD and MA in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan and MA in Oriental and African Studies from St. Petersburg State University (Russia). Her research areas include Arabic literature and film, identity studies, sexuality studies, and cultural discourses on war. She currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in Arabic Literature and Film and Director of Arabic Programs at the University of Maryland.


'A rich, provocative, and welcome contribution to the study of modern Arab autobiographical representations…This is an analysis that will interest both scholars of traditional autobiography as well as a much broader readership of those interested in new cultural formations and identities in the modern Arab world.'

- Dwight F. Reynolds, University of California, Santa Barbara, Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication

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