Call for Papers

The 15th Annual International Workshop of the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Literature and History: Middle Eastern Perspectives

 May 31 June 2, 2010

Coordinators: Dr. Yair Huri & Dr. Ariel M. Sheetrit


Scholarly discussions about the intricate relationship between belletristic literature and history have long haunted literary criticism, historiography, cultural studies and literary practice. In recent decades numerous studies have addressed the question of belles lettres as a possible source for social, cultural and political history, while shifting the focus away from the study of aesthetics towards the study of literature as a narrative space that often represents forgotten, silenced or repressed histories.


By focusing on fiction, poetry and plays written by Arab, Turkish, Iranian, and Israeli writers (as well as by writers of other Middle Eastern ethnicities), our annual international workshop will provide a broad forum for practitioners coming from the distinctive vantage points of both disciplines literary criticism and history writing to explore issues of common concern in Middle Eastern scholarship: nationality, post-colonial narratives, religion and secularism, gender and sexuality, class, social discourse, changing sensibilities and language.

Papers should address the complex, multifaceted relationship between literature and history, and can include some of the following issues:


      Autobiographies and history writing

      Writing and remembering lives

      Reclaiming lost and repressed lived experiences in literature

        The use of historical events in literary creativity

      Temporality literary and historical time

      Ficto-historical writing / historical fiction

      Political and social resistance through fiction

      Manifestations of oppression and censorship

      Portrayal of the Other

      The interaction between a text and its historical and political contexts

      Political, ethical and cultural implications of historical fiction

      Reconsidering the literary significance of history from below

      Literary history and its mediations (gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, etc.)

      Aestheticism and anti-historicism in literature


The workshop will be held at Ben Gurion University of the Negev from May 31 through June 2, 2010. All participants will be expected to submit in advance a working paper to be distributed among the other participants. This will enable us to dedicate the meetings to discussions on original papers rather than to lengthy presentations.

Those interested in participating in the workshop are asked to send a one-page proposal in English, along with their C.V. by December 1, 2009. The proposal should briefly state the topic, and outline how the paper contributes to the aims of the workshop. Authors will be notified by January 1, 2010 whether their proposal was accepted for presentation at the workshop. Authors whose proposal is accepted will be expected to submit a full-length version of the paper by April 1, 2010.


Participants from abroad will be offered round trip airfare and lodging.


Proposals should be addressed by e-mail to:


Dr. Yair Huri:                    

Dr. Ariel M. Sheetrit:




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