'That Disease’: Female Cancer in Arab Contexts
Date(s) - 05/11/2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Wolfson Research Institute For Health And Wellbeing
This public lecture explores the modern female cultural history of cancer in the Arab world through a creative and critical engagement with real-life testimonies and literary and critical figures in Arab writing.
To begin, I will map the cultural history of the cancer taboo in the Arab World that ranges from the everyday naming of cancer, to cancer metaphors and discourses in the media, as well as to archetypal literary representations. I also reflect on the archaeology of silence that marks Arab women’s cancer experiences in relation to an ethnodrama that I wrote and produced in Lebanon in 2017.
Abir Hamdar is Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at Durham University and a playwright. She has published articles, short stories and plays on gender, illness/disability, cinema, exile, and Islamism. She is the author of The Female Suffering Body: Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature (Syracuse University Press, 2014). She has also co-edited a volume of essays entitled Islamism and Cultural Expression in the Arab World (Routledge, 2014). Her play The Silicone Bomb was performed in Beirut, Alexandria and Jordan. Her ethnodramas I Am Waiting for You and Hair Talk on Arab female cancer experiences premiered in Beirut, Lebanon in 2017 and 2020 and were staged at the Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute of AUBMedical Centre, Beirut, Lebanon. She is currently working on a monograph on disabilities in Arab literature, film and media.