Graduate Student Activities-Badreddine Ben Othman

 

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Badreddine will be attending the 2016 edition of the Institute for World Literature, which will take place at Harvard University this summer.

This Spring, Badredinne presented a paper entitled “Writing Queer Desire in Abdallah Taia, Rachid O, and Hisham Tahir’s novels” in the conference, “Queer Justice: Struggles and Strategies” at Ohio University.

Abstract
In the last two decades, a pioneering wave of openly gay Maghrebian novelists has emerged depicting the struggles of assuming an exclusively “gay identity;” in Arab-Muslim societies. Writers like Abdellah Tai, Rachid O and Hicham Tahir engaged in a literary project aiming at breaking the intolerably irritating silence surrounding homosexuality in the Maghreb. Although homosexuality is palpably present in Arab-Muslim societies of the Maghreb, there is nonetheless an intolerance in regards with their open discussion. Even on a purely discursive level, taboo remains an insurmountable hurdle for many gay individuals. Nevertheless, the characters of Taia, O and Tahir’s novels transgress the aforementioned socio- religious restrictions by suggesting a discourse that seeks to reconcile their queer desires and their spiritual beliefs. In this discussion, I will highlight the difficulty that the narrator-protagonists of the three writers experience in assuming their sexuality in an interstitial space between a cherished yet homophobic Maghreb and a more liberal but hostile French milieu. I will also explore the stakes surrounding the use of French by the Maghrebian writers who instead of using Arabic, opt to use another language that does not denigrate their queer sexuality and construct it in pejorative terms. In this study, I will draw on the theoretical postulations of Judith Butler, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Lise Gauvin and Svetlana Boym who reflected on the transnational queer identity construction and its rapport with space and language.

Badreddine  started translating a manuscript of Tunisian poet Moncef Mezgheni to English

 

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Author: Rania Said

I am a PhD candidate in comparative literature at Binghamton University. My research centers on the experience of the city in women's memoirs of the 2011 "Arab Uprisings."

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