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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Undergraduate Course: Egyptian colloquial texts: Literature and the sounds of life (IMES10075)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaIslamic and Middle Eastern Studies Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThe course will expose students to a range of literary texts from Egypt's vernacular tradition, predominantly 19th- and 20th-century, including colloquial poetry, dialogues, prose narrative and blogs. The course will also focus on enhancing students' listening and speaking skills in Egyptian colloquial Arabic.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs photocopied course pack
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThree years of university-level Arabic instruction. Some knowledge of Egyptian colloquial Arabic or another Arabic dialect is expected.
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
The language component of this module has two aims:
1) to introduce the learner to specific Egyptian vocabulary and structures to enable him or her to speak and understand the Egyptian Arabic dialect with relative ease.
2) to provide the learner with the linguistic skills required to help him or her to read and understand the Egyptian texts covered in the module.
Assessment Information
Final examination (40%)
One 2000-word essay (30%)
Class presentation and participation (15%)
Oral examination (15%)
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description This course, co-taught by Arabic language specialist Jonathan Featherstone and Arabic literature/Egyptian cultural history specialist Marilyn Booth, combines advanced work in Egyptian colloquial Arabic language with historical and literary critical approaches to literature composed in the Egyptian vernacular(s). For students who have just spent their third year abroad studying modern standard and colloquial Arabic in Egypt, this will build on their exposure to the spoken language and to Egyptian society, introducing them to a local tradition with a long history and instructing them in the literary and historical context, and key political moments, that have produced a rich vernacular literature. Furthermore, by combining Booth's research interests and Featherstone's pedagogic interests in Arabic instruction across all registers of Arabic (and in which he has been publishing textbooks), the course will act as an advanced language course in addition to a "content" course. Students will read (and listen to) texts in Arabic, learning also about the shifts across time in the structure and vocabulary of Egyptian colloquial registers. They will also read a few secondary texts in Arabic though most secondary texts will be in English.

This course will add to options in Middle Eastern literature and cultural studies by exposing students to a tradition that is becoming increasingly important across the Arab region, where each subregion has its vernacular literary genres. It will require them to engage with the works critically and also with debates over the status of Arabic as a literary language, for writing in the colloquial has often been controversial and politically sensitive in the region. The course thus equips students to engage with historically resonant and contemporary debates within Egypt (and other nations in the Middle East) over language, class, and media. In addition to the more "traditional" forms of vernacular literature, we will examine blogs and recent poetry that circulates through the Internet and via U Tube, thus introducing students to the ways these now-familiar media are increasingly central to political and cultural expression in the region. The course complements other recently proposed offerings that strengthen our program's focus on modern and contemporary Middle Eastern cultural and political developments.

The language component of this module has two aims:
1) to introduce the learner to specific Egyptian vocabulary and structures to enable him or her to speak and understand the Egyptian Arabic dialect with relative ease.
2) to provide the learner with the linguistic skills required to help him or her to read and understand the Egyptian texts covered in the module.
Syllabus We will read poetry, prose and drama texts published from the late 19th century to 2011, including such poets and dialogists as $Abd Allah Nadim, Mahmud Bayram al-Tunisi, 'Abdallah Fikri, Badi' Khayri, Salah Jahin, Fu'ad Haddad, al-Abnudi, Ahmad Fu'ad Nigm, and Tamim al-Barghuthi; fiction or dialogue in fiction by post-1950 authors; recent autobiographical texts and blogs that are thematically as well as expressively dependent on colloquial Arabic. We will end the course with study of poetry composed in and about the 2011 Egyptian thawra (revolution). (While much theater in Egypt is produced and sometimes published in colloquial Arabic, it is a tradition apart from "colloquial literature" and thus will not be part of this course.)

We will read selected secondary works on colloquial poetry, uses of the vernacular in cultural production, the political and social status of 'popular culture' and the changing media and cultural status of certain forms, and the role of these literary artefacts in political activism.

Classes will include discussion and practice of colloquial Egyptian Arabic structures and expressions. The course will be structured as two 1.5-hour sessions each week, one focusing on literature and the second on language structures and semantics. The language sessions will focus mainly on speaking and listening with specific emphasis on Egyptian stress and intonation. Language activities will include: drills, recorded dialogues, role-plays, interview technique and oral presentations.

Tentative list of course material from which selections may be made

1. Prose works: dialogues, fiction, blogs
a. From 'Abdallah Nadim's periodical al-Ustadh (1892-93)
b. From Shaykh al-Najjar's periodical al-Arghul (1891-95)
c. Bayram al-Tunisi, is-Sayyid w'imratuh fi Baris (1921)
d. 'Humum' interviews in al-Tali'a (early 1960s)
e. In fiction: al-Bab al-maftuh, by Latifa al-Zayyat (1960); Lusus mutaqa'idun, by Hamdi Abu Gulayyil (2003)
f. Khalid al-Khumaysi, Taksi: Hawadit al-mashawir (2006)
g. Ayman 'Abd al-Mu'ti, Khayal zill Umm Husayn (2008)
h. Ahmad Muhammad 'Ali, Yoomiyyat 'ayyil masri (2011)
i. 'Amr al-'Adili, Fil biyitdarrab 'a'l-insaniyya: riwaya bi'l-'ammiyya al-misriyya (2010)
j. Muhammad Kamal Hasan and Mustafa al-Husayni, 'Indama asma'u kalimat 'mudawwana': muddawwanat misriyya (2008)
k. Muhammad Kamal Hasan and Mustafa al-Husayni, Qahwat al-misriyyin (2009)

2. Poetry (texts from various sources; collected by M. Booth)
a. A premodern taster: 12th-century zajal from al-Andalus
b. Al-Ghibari: early modern didactic zajal from Egypt (texts from various sources; collected by M. Booth)
c. The late 19th century: Preaching to "the people"
'Abdallah Nadim, poem from al-Tankit wa'l-tabkhit (1880s)
Shaykh Muhammad al-Naggar, poems from al-Arghul (1891-95)
Muhammad Tawfiq, poem(s) and preface from Himarat munyati (1898-1900)
d. The 1920s: Zajal and nationalist activism
Mahmud Bayram al-Tunisi, poems from al-Shabab and al-Funun (1921-28)
Badi& Khayri, poems from Alf sinf (mid-1920s)
Possibly others: Yunus al-Qadi, Diwan (n.d.), Imam al-'Abd, 'Isa Sabri, 'Izzat Saqr
e. The 1940s-1960s: Zajal and labour activism
Hamid al-Atmas, Ana al-'amil: Majmu'at azjal sha'biyya (1946)
Hamid al-Atmas, Sunna' al-rabi': suwar sha'biyya (1964)
poetry from the labour press and al-Masa' (1956)
f. The 1950s and later: From zajal to the new colloquial poetry
Fu'ad Haddad, Salah Jahin, Sayyid Hijab
From the Sa'id: 'Abd al-Rahman al-Abnudi
Fu'ad Qa'ud, al-Mawawil: shi'r (1978)
Samir 'Abd al-Baqi
Zayn al-'Abidin Fu'ad, Wishsh Masr (1972); al-Hulm fi'l-sijn (1978)
g. Al-Shi'r bi'l-'ammiyya: The new generations, such as:
Tahir al-Birinbali, Tali'in li-wishsh al-nashid (1989)
Muhammad Kushayk, Taqasim (1993)
Nahid al-Sayyid, al-Hayat. Al-Hubb. Al-Mawt. Al-Hayt. Shi'r 'ammi (1998)
Kawthar Mustafa, Mawsim zar' al-banat (1989)
Baha' Jahin, al-Raqs fi zahmat al-murur (1986)
Amin Haddad, Badal faqid (2008) (or earlier diwan)
Tamim al-Barghuthi as a young Palestinian-Egyptian poet who composes in both dialects
Ahmad al-'Aydi, al-'Ishq al-sadi (2009)
The "fusha-ness" of new 'ammiyya poetry: Fatima Qindil
h. 'Ammiyya poetry and political protest
Ahmad Fu'ad Nigm (poems from several different diwans: Suwar min al-hayat wa'l-sijn (1964); Bayan hamm (1976); Baladi wa-habibati: qasa'id min al-mu'taqal (1979); Ya'ish ahl baladi (1981); and from the internet)
Shaykh Imam: The Nigm-Imam phenomenon
Thawrat 2011: Poetry and the new Egyptian revolutionary (Nigm and others, from U Tube and internet sites)
Transferable skills Learning and speaking skills in Egyptian colloquial Arabic
Reading in Modern Standard Arabic
Knowledge of modern Egyptian society and culture as viewed through a set of literary texts
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad This will build on students' experience in the 3rd year of study when they are in an Arab country for formal study of Arabic as well as informal experience of the Arab world.
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsArabic literature dialect poetry
Course organiserProf Marilyn Booth
Tel: (0131 6)50 7181
Course secretaryMrs Rhona Hajcman
Tel: (0131 6)51 3846
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