Suheir Hammad, a Palestinian American poet, is the author of Born Palestinian Born Black, 1996, ZaatarDiva, to be released Fall 2005 by Cypher Books, and a co-writer and performer in the TONY Award winning Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway.
As a way to ask these questions, we will examine the cultural production of a group of post-World War II writers grappling with Euro-American interest in the Middle East and North Africa. Taking as a historical touchstone the rise of the non-aligned movement after 1955, key literary works produced about Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, and Lebanon will provide the ground for our inquiry. In turning to the literary, we will open up debates about language, form, representation, translation, and narrative. We will likewise investigate the meaning and utility of concepts of race, nation, religion, gender, sexuality, and class that legitimate colonial rule, as well as the recasting of such concepts in struggles against colonialism. Literary texts may include: Naguib Mahfouz, Midaq Alley; Tayeb Salih, Seasons of Migration to the North; Etel Adnan, Sitt Marie Rose; Nawal El Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero; Suheir Hammad, ZaatarDiva; Rabih Alameddine, Koolaids: The Art of War; Assia Djebar, Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade. Works of history, theory and criticism may include selections from Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Frantz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Robert Young, Ann Laura Stoler, Anne McClintock, Edward Said, Ella Shohat, Trinh T. Minh-Ha, David Scott, Saba Mahmood, and Timothy Mitchell.
Suheir Hammad was a co-writer and original cast member in the Tony-award winning Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. She has won several awards for her writing, including The Audre Lorde Poetry Award, a Van Lier Fellowship, and a Sister of Fire Award. She is the author of breaking poems, recipient of a 2009 American Book Award and the Arab American Book award for Poetry 2009. Her other books are ZaatarDiva; Born Palestinian, Born Black; and Drops of This Story. Her work has been widely anthologized and also adapted for theater.