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Closing Distances: Women, Middle East, Self, & Otherness In Conversation

Monday, April 15, 2013
4:00 AM
2239 Lane Hall

This panel begins a conversation between us—women of Arab, Jewish, Mizrahi, and Ashkenazi origins—providing an opportunity to raise questions about the poetics of everyday life of the immigrant female scholar, as shaped by discrepancies between languages and spaces, and between the literary text, the public discourse, and our personal experience. We will juxtapose our own creative and scholarly writings with works by other women-writers from the Middle East.

Orian Zakai, “Kingdom of Women: Fantasies of Sisterhood in Hebrew Women’s Writings, 1934, 2010”

Wijdan Alsayegh, “Illusion of Freedom: Contemporary Arab Women Writers ”

Ruth Tsoffar, “’The Extent of the Tragedy Reveals Itself to Me…’ in Ann Arbor.  Tikva Levi (1960-2012)

Panelist: Alexandra “Sasha” Hoffman

Wijdan Alsayegh is an award-winning Arab writer and feminist activist who has published 24 books. Her latest book, Shahrazad and Seductive Narration: Reading in Feminist Fiction, was published in Beirut and Algeria, in 2008. Her articles and reviews appear in many Arabic journals, periodicals, and literary magazines throughout the Arab world. She is currently teaching in the Department of Near Eastern Studies.

Alexandra “Sasha” Hoffman completed her PhD in the University of Michigan’s Department of Comparative Literature in 2012. She has published articles and translations on Yiddish literature and folklore. She is a Yiddish-language lecturer at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.

Ruth Tsoffar is an associate professor in the departments of Comparative Literature and Women's Studies, and faculty associate at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies. She is the author of the award-winning Stains of Culture: An Ethno-Reading of Karaite Jewish Women, along with articles on Hebrew poetry, Biblical narratives,  and Israeli ideology.

Orian Zakai is a fellow at the Frankel Institute for Judaic Studies. She completed her PhD in the University of Michigan’s Department of Comparative Literature in 2012 and is the author of Hashlem et ha-haser (Fill in the Blanks), a collection of short fiction published in Israel in 2010.

This event is sponsored by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Dept. of Women’s Studies.