Fascinating interview on women, writing, and the Ba’athist state.
Hawraa Al Hassan’s Women, Writing and the Iraqi Ba’thist State: Contending Discourses of Resistance and Collaboration, 1968-2003 (University of Edinburgh Press, 2020) is unique because it both explores discourse concerning women and how women themselves used literature to create a site of resistance to the state. Al-Hassan’s work is also inclusive, as it joins a wider call to make literary studies a space in which works which were previously considered propagandistic can also be seriously considered.New Books Network | Hawraa Al Hassan, “Women, Writing and the Iraqi…
There are some great gems in this episode and areas I would like to dig deeper on, such as:
-Saddam eradicating illiteracy chiefly to build a wider audience for Ba’athist propaganda.
-Book covers as messages (not many read the book, but they do see the cover).
-The novels of Saddam Hussein. You may recall, it is believed that Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy The Dictator was inspired by one of these novels.
For more, here’s a print interview with Dr. Al-Hassan over at ArabLit.
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