Blog series on TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research
Located at the intersection of comparative literature, area studies, and global history, this workshop uses Arabic, Persian Turkish, Tamazight (Berber), English, and French literatures of the period roughly defined by 1979-1991 to challenge the sense of political and social stalemate that haunts the contemporary Middle East and its diasporas. The 1980s were a uniquely transregional decade that marked the final stage of the Cold War, bookended most notably by the Iranian Revolution and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979) and the First Gulf War (1991). The decade witnessed dramatic social and political shifts whose effects reverberated around the world but were most acutely felt in the geographic space that extends from Morocco to Afghanistan. In ways that have yet to be acknowledged, literature – which plays the distinctive role of an archive for public history and memory in the greater Middle East – bore witness to these upheavals, their local and national impacts, and to connections of violence, solidarity, and memory that entangled regional societies and cultures in new ways.