Blogging from Egypt: Digital Literature
Date(s) - 11/04/2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
About this Event
Since 2005, blogging has become a significant trend amid Egyptian young people. Among the many blog entries published online every day, some stand out for their innovative literary features and original contents. So far, a number of bloggers, such as Ahmed Naji, Mohammad Rabie, Nael Eltoukhy, Youssef Rakha, and Ghada Abdel Aal have not only received big popularity within the online community but have also gained the attention of independent and mainstream publishing houses, and have eventually made their way to the landscape of Egyptian literary circles. For others, the blog has functioned as a springboard to enter the field of cinema and journalism. There is still a number of bloggers, instead, who continues to be active only in the online sphere, under the veil of anonymity. Despite that fact, blogs seem to attract critical attention only for their political significance, or when turned into a commodifiable form, such as books, anthologies or magazines.
These online texts raise important questions such as: how can a blog be turned into a work of literature: in other words: what it is that makes these blogs so compelling to read? And what do these texts contribute to Egyptian (autobiographical) literary production?
In this talk, Teresa Pepe will attempt at replying to these questions, building on a research sample of 40 Egyptian blogs written between 2005 and 2016. Her literary analysis of the blogs is illuminated by the testimonies offered by the blog authors, with whom she has met before and after the events of the 25th January revolution.
Teresa Pepe is Associate Professor in Arabic Studies in Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo. Her research interests span across modern and contemporary Arabic literature, media studies and popular culture. She is the author of Blogging from Egypt: Digital Literature: 2005-2016 (EUP, 2019). She has recently edited a volume with Stephan Guth entitled Arabic Literature in the Posthuman Age (Harassowitz Verlag, 2019), that examines the use of dystopia, necropolitics, monsters and satire in Arabic literature today. She has published widely on Arabic literature in journals such as Oriente Moderno, Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies and LEA- Lingue e Letterature d’Oriente e d’Occidente
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