Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance: Sinan Antoon Reading

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Location: Virtual Webinar

Featuring Sinan Antoon, Associate Professor of Arabic Literature at New York University, Poet, Novelist, Scholar, and Translator


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Sinan Antoon was born in Baghdad and left Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War. He holds degrees from Baghdad University, Georgetown University, and Harvard University, where he earned his doctorate in Arabic Literature in 2006. He has published two collections of poetry and four novels. His works have been translated to thirteen languages. 

His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s last prose book, In the Presence of Absence, won the 2012 American Literary Translators’ Award, and his translation of his own novel, The Corpse Washer, won the 2014 Saif Ghobash Prize for Literary Translation and was longlisted for the International Prize for Foreign Fiction. Two of his novels were shortlisted for the Arabic Booker Prize. 

His scholarly works include The Poetics of the Obscene: Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave, 2014) and articles on Mahmoud Darwish, Sargon Boulus, and Saadi Youssef. He returned to his hometown in 2003 to co-direct About Baghdad, a documentary about Baghdad after dictatorship and under occupation. He has published op-eds in The Guardian, The New York Times, The Nation and various pan-Arab publications. His latest novel, The Book of Collateral Damage (Yale University Press, 2019). 

This conversation will feature the discussant, Olivier Morel, Joint Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, and be moderated by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Director of Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame.  

A French and American scholar and filmmaker, Morel is the director of several feature-length nonfiction films (documentaries) and the author of essays including one graphic novel with the artist and writer Maël. His academic work, as well as his films, highlight the importance of creation and the arts (music, literature, cinema, photography) in the perception of historical events. He is a joint associate professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.  

Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Global Middle East and North Africa is a bi-annual symposium and lecture series that focuses on the study of literatures that have been shaped by histories of territorial and linguistic politics, colonialism, military domination, and gross human rights violations. The initiative grapples with the constructed nature of history; reimagines American and global history from the position of suppressed voices; and examines how minoritized writers and scholars have historically innovated literary production and theory in the process of responding to systemic violence. 

Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance, launched by Associate Professor of English and Kroc Institute Faculty Fellow Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, is co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Letters, the Keough School of Global Affairs, and the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. In addition, the fall remote lecture series is co-sponsored by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies. 

Kroc Institute faculty members Asher Kaufman, Ebrahim Moosa, Atalia Omer, and Ernesto Verdeja serve on the advisory board for the series. In addition, the advisory board includes College of Arts and Letters faculty members Alison Rice, Perin Gürel, Barry McCrea, Francisco Robles, Olivier Morel, and Mark Sanders.  This initiative would not have been possible without the contributions of advisory board member Chana Morgenstern, Lecturer in Postcolonial and Middle Eastern Literatures, Faculty of English, Cambridge University. For more information, visit the Literatures of Annihilation, Exile & Resistance website.  

Other events in the series will take place on September 4 and October 2