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Title: Cross-cultural exchanges : Nawal El Saadawi and feminism in the Arab world
Author: Ammari, Deema Nabil
ISNI:       0000 0001 3419 7006
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2007
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The aim of this thesis is to consider how Nawal El Saadawi's literary work can be examined on a theoretical level and to locate a possible theoretical framework, in her feminist texts, through which to explore the subjective identity of Arab women and the authenticity and creativity of their discourses. As it is Saadawi's literary output t~at lies at the heart of this research, this thesis begins, after establishing the theoretical framework and terminology that will be employed, with a very necessary situating of her activist and feminist literature within the context of Arabic feminist writing within the male-dominated Arabic literary tradition. The role of Arab women's creative writing in consciousness-raising, the debates around Arab female identity and subjectivity and women's awareness ofthe cultural and political dilemmas oftheir time are all drawn into the discussion. The thesis goes on to present a psychoanalytical approach to Saadawi's feminist literature as a part ofthe study of colonial relations. As I argue, the concept of colonial relations between the colonizer and the native Other can be translated into, and therefore help understand, the dynamics of gender relations within the patriarchal domination of the female Other in the Arab world. This thesis explores Saadawi's fiction and non-fiction work between 1983 and 2002, which present the Arab woman as doubly traumatized by her struggle against foreign domination and a patriarchally hierarchized system. The texts will be used to explore Arab women's oppression and struggle for freedom, and to consider Saadawi's examination of the psychological and physical imprisonment she was subjected to. The thesis culminates in an examination of the writing of the female body and of women's perception of their sexuality through creativity and imagination,a creativity and imagination which is crucial, as Saadawi's work shows, for Arab women's transcendence of gendered hierarchy. Saadawi's novel The Circling Song will be explored through a framework of (Western) poststructuralist theory, with a specific focus on Helene Cixous' concept of feminine writing, revealing the relevance and importance of such ideas for the novel. Ultimately then, what this thesis proposes is a new way of reading Saadawi's work, one which I consider an example of Arab women's struggle to achieve and locate a subjectivity in the Arab as well as the Western worlds. It draws on Western theory, not to colonise or suppress the difference.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available