Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics

A book talk with Olivia C. Harrison, University of Southern California and Teresa Villa-Ignacio, Tulane University

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Duration: 50:34


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Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics introduces and makes available, for the first time in English, an incandescent corpus of experimental leftist writing from North Africa. Founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and several other avant-garde Moroccan poets and banned in 1972, Souffles-Anfas was one of the most influential literary, cultural, and political reviews to emerge in postcolonial North Africa. An early forum for tricontinental postcolonial thought and writing, the journal published texts ranging from experimental poems, literary manifestoes, and abstract art to political tracts, open letters, and interviews by some of the period’s most important artists and intellectuals, including Abdelkebir Khatibi, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Albert Memmi, Abraham Serfaty, Etel Adnan, Sembene Ousmane, Amilcar Cabral, René Depestre, and Mohamed Melehi. This talk charts the journal’s evolution from Francophone poetry review to French and Arabic tribune of the radical left and highlights its interventions into key postcolonial debates, including the uses of French and Arabic in the Maghreb, studies of the Maghrebi Jewish diaspora, and the question of Palestinian sovereignty. Reflections on the journal’s resonances with the recent pro-democracy protests across North Africa and the Middle East as well as the renewed struggle for civil rights in the United States will allow us to assess the journal’s enduring legacy in Morocco, the Maghreb, and the decolonizing world.

Olivia C. Harrison is Assistant Professor of French and Middle East Studies at the University of Southern California, where she teaches courses on the modern and contemporary Mediterranean. Her research focuses on postcolonial North African, Middle Eastern, and French literature and film, with a particular emphasis on transcolonial affiliations between writers and intellectuals from the Global South. Her articles have appeared in PMLA, Social Text, and Postcolonial Text as well as in more specialized venues such as Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: Sites. She is the author of Transcolonial Maghreb: Imagining Palestine in the Era of Decolonization (Stanford University Press, 2016) and, with Teresa Villa-Ignacio, editor of Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics (Stanford University Press, 2016.

Teresa Villa-Ignacio is Postdoctoral Fellow in English and Visiting Scholar in French at Tulane University. Her research interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century French, Francophone and U.S. American literature, poetry and poetics, translation studies, literary theory, ethics, intermediality, postcolonial studies, multiculturalism, and globalization. She is completing a book manuscript entitled “Poethical Import: Translationships in French-American Poetic Exchange,” which examines the centrality of ethics in relations of translation and collaboration among France- and U.S.-based contemporary poets. Her related podcast series, Sounding Translation, features interviews with poet-translators. With Olivia C. Harrison, she is editing a special issue on Translating the Maghreb for Expressions maghrébines, forthcoming in the summer of 2016.

Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2016