Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

A multilingual journal published annually, featuring original scholarly articles in Arabic, English, and occasionally French. Each multidisciplinary issue is dedicated to a specific theme.

Articles from No. 31, Annual

"Anything I Can Stick a Needle In": An Interview with Yvonne Wells
In this interview, artist Yvonne Wells discusses the origins and early years of her quilting career, the development of her "story quilts" and "picture quilts" on religious and sociopolitical themes, her working process as an artist, her esthetic preferences,...
Areas of Concern: Area Studies and the New American Studies
The new American Studies encompasses the various nations and communities in the Western Hemisphere and studies them in comparative, transnational, and, in some cases, "postnational" contexts. The field also deals with the global influences of these...
B-Boying and Battling in a Global Context: The Discursive Life of Difference in Hip Hop Dance
This article explores the discursive dimensions of dance through a battle between the Mighty Zulu Kings (US) and Gamblerz (South Korea) at a two-day international b-boying (popularly known as break-dancing) competition in Los Angeles in 2007. The author...
Humor and Resistance in Modern Native Nonfiction
This article reviews recent Native nonfiction to illustrate how modern Native essayists use humor as a mode of anti-colonial critique. It examines how anti-colonial politics find expression in the various types of rhetorical humor that are employed...
"I Wanted That Story to Be Told" (Interview)
Annemarie Jacir discusses her background and artistic vision as it has culminated, most recently, in her award-winning 2008 feature film Salt of this Sea. Jacir explains how her film, which traces the experiences of Soraya--a Palestinian-American woman...
Performing Sheherazade: Arab-American Women's Contestations of Identity
Arab-American one-woman shows and women's stand-up comedy routines have actively worked to refashion collective cultural productions, particularly within a post-9/11 context. These performances are consistent with the ways that many diasporic writers...
Redefining American Identity and Overcoming Trauma in Two Post-9/11 Novels of Quebec
This article examines the effects of 9/11 on Quebecois literature. A close analysis of the novels Les moines dans la tour by Roch Carrier and Compter jusqu'a cent by Melanie Gelinas demonstrates how the catastrophe in New York caused both authors to...
The Other Americans
The topic for the present issue of Alif--"The Other Americas"--has multiple sources. In 1962, sociologist Michael Harrington used its singular form--The Other America--as the title for his expose of poverty in the United States. More recently, at the...
Tortured History: Filibustering, Rhetoric, and Walker's War in Nicaragua
Though William Walker was celebrated for his conquest of Nicaragua in 1855, it was his literary skill, rather than his military or political acumen, that allowed him to contribute the dominant imaginary of Latin America to US culture. Citing key passages...
Towards an Afro-Arab Diasporic Culture: The Translational Practices of David Graham Du Bois
This article offers a rare analysis of the literary and journalistic work of David Graham Du Bois. It illuminates a practice of Afro-Arab diasporic culture that narrates linkages between Oakland, Cairo, and Palestine through practices of linguistic...
Transnational Queer Literature of the (Other) Americas
This article contributes to the current transnational turn in American literary scholarship by examining the cross-cultural connections between several North and South American writers, beginning with Walt Whitman. The specific focus of this survey...
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