Al-Mousawi, Nahrain

Death at the Border: Making and Unmaking the Migrating Body

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This essay explores Marie NDiaye’s novel Trois Femmes Puissantes about the trials of three loosely connected women, who reveal the traffic links between France and Senegal. Set apart from other critiques of the novel, this paper focuses on the last “strong woman” of the triptych—Khady Demba—as an allegorical figure of today’s African migrants pushed out of a homeland that refuses to provide for them and toward perilous journeys. NDiaye highlights the interconnectedness of the material and metaphoric/ideational in apprehending the border. She does this through a play on the abstract—literalizing metaphors and the figurative to highlight the way language and the ideational intersect with and even affect and shape the material. In doing so, she draws attention to the categories in which the world is represented and to the way these conventions shape social reality.

Nahrain Al-Mousawi is a postdoctoral fellow and visiting faculty of modern Arabic literature and culture at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. In 2015/16 she was a postdoctoral fellow of Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe (EUME), a program at the Forum Transregionale Studien. She holds a PhD in comparative literature from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Texas, Austin. Her research has focused on Arab–African migrant literature.

DOI: 10.25360/01-2017-00006
ISSN (Print) 2364-8945
ISSN (Online) 2364-8953

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