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Autobiographical Identities in Contemporary Arab Culture$
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Valerie Anishchenkova

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748643400

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748643400.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

Autobiography and Nation-Building:

Autobiography and Nation-Building:

Constructing Personal Identity in the Postcolonial World

(p.37) 1 Autobiography and Nation-Building
Autobiographical Identities in Contemporary Arab Culture

Valerie Anishchenkova

Edinburgh University Press

In the Arab world, postcolonial period brought about a large number of literary works preoccupied with constructing new national identities. Autobiographical writings are particularly important in this context because they renegotiate the complex relationship between the individual, his community/nation, and the Western Other. Anticolonial and nationalist aspects of life-writing highlight new modes of cultural identity that emerged in the process of nation-building. Primary case studies in this chapter are Hanna Mina’s Fragments of Memory (1975) and Layla Abu Zayd’s Year of the Elephant (1984), produced in two culturally distinct locations of the Arab world: Syria and Morocco, respectively. Close textual analysis illustrates how different colonial histories and local cultural and religious discourses inform the construction of nationalist identities in different parts of the Arab world.

Keywords:   Nationalism, British colonialism, French colonialism, Decolonization, Autobiography, Identity, Hanna Mina, Layla Abu Zayd (Leila Abouzeid), Syrian nationalism, Moroccan nationalism

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