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Queering Migration: Fragmented (Post)colonial Subjectivities in 21st-Century Middle Eastern and North African Literature

Joseph, Donald L. (2023) Queering Migration: Fragmented (Post)colonial Subjectivities in 21st-Century Middle Eastern and North African Literature. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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As a space of encounter and exchange, the Mediterranean is a complex region due to its diverse histories, peoples, and cultures. As a decolonial period that brought forth the autonomy of North African and Levantine nations from French colonial rule, the second half of the 20th-century produced fragmented subjects, who, in the 21st-century, must navigate (post)colonial spaces that complicate subjectivities, including race, gender, and sexuality. This dissertation is a critical study of 21st-century Francophone Mediterranean literature that argues for an assemblage process that allows for the recognition of migration amongst subjectivities, leaving space for the construction of subjecthood through the process of movement – a form of resistance against Western normativity.

Queer, as embodiment and a field of study, is used differently in this dissertation than conventional queer studies approaches. I demonstrate how one can queer queer studies and the term itself to consider how it is situated outside and inhabited by queer Arab and Maghrebi subjects who are not white Euro-Americans. Furthermore, my engagement with literary texts opens avenues for the continued development of queer theory – discourses marginalized within larger national rhetorics. This engagement with pre- and postcolonial history reshapes, epistemologically, distinct subjectivities and national cultures as one encounters their memory and their predecessors – a synthesis of both the past and the present.

The dissertation’s corpus includes Bahaa Trabelsi’s Une vie à trois (2000), Nina Bouraoui’s Garçon manqué (2000) and Mes mauvaises pensées (2005), Rachid O.’s Ce qui reste (2003), Abdellah Taïa’s Le rouge du tarbouche (2004) and Une mélancolie arabe (2008), Tahir Ben Jelloun’s Au pays (2009), Amin Maalouf’s Les désorientés (2012) and Hicham Tahir’s Les ruelles des pieds nus (2015), Riad Sattouf’s graphic novel L’Arabe du futur (2014) and Nabil Wakim’s essay, “L’Arabe pour tous” (2020). I expand upon the study of migration-related subjectivity and propose a framework that considers displacement and movement as contributing to developing subjectivities. These texts depict geographical and (meta)physical movement such as (im)migration, self-exile and intra-city travel. I examine the relationship between France and its former colonies, protectorates, and mandates to understand how queer subjects navigate their complex subjectivities and identities in motion.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Joseph, Donald L.dlj45@pitt.edudlj45
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairReeser,
Committee CoChairWalsh, John
Committee MemberHogg, Chloé
Committee MemberTenorio,
Committee MemberMack,
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 May 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 7 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 214
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > French
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Migration, Masculinity, Maghreb, Middle East, Queer Studies
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2023 16:51
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2023 16:51


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