Asma Al-Naser

Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Humanities

20102011 Forum on Virtuality

Asma Al-Naser


Afterlives: Specters of the American Century in Post-WWII American and Palestinian Literature

My dissertation is a comparative analysis of American (Bowles, Wright, Bellow and Silko) and Palestinian (Jabra, Kanafani, Khoury) novels in second half of the 20th Century. The dissertation is organized around a concept that I am calling the “afterlife,” a liminal space between life and death that can have social, political and ethical significance. The texts I have chosen all deal with different losses or “deaths,” ranging from personal to historical, and present the reader with a sense of being “undead.” My project attempts to construct an alternative model of the cultural and political relationships between American literary production and the Palestinian Question. I also aim at interrogating the ethics of the different responses to historical loss and their relevance to the post-war period.