Celebrated Moroccan Writer Driss Ksikes to Teach North African Literature in the Age of Social Media

Driss Ksikes
Moroccan playwright, novelist, journalist, scholar, and human rights advocate Driss Ksikes

MENA is thrilled to be partnering with Northwestern’s Center for the Writing Arts in hosting Driss Ksikes, the Moroccan playwright, novelist, journalist, scholar, and human rights advocate, as a Visiting Writer-in-Residence for the Spring Quarter 2017.

Across a range of fields, Ksikes has made major contributions to the artistic, political, and intellectual life of Morocco and the Arab world more generally. Ksikes will teach two classes in the spring: The Art of Playwriting (for the Center for the Writing Arts) and North African Literature in the Age of Social Media (for the MENA Program). Here is the course description for his MENA course:

North African Literature in the Age of Social Media

MENA 390-6-21

Driss Ksikes

TuTh 11:00AM - 12:20PM

Kresge 4-531 (MENA Seminar Room)

This course is taught by Writer-in-Residence Driss Ksikes, a prominent Moroccan novelist, playwright, journalist, and magazine editor. All readings are in English translation and discussion is in English. Students who read French and/or Arabic will have the opportunity to read some materials in the original. The starting point of the seminar is that novels, poems, short stories, plays, may reveal, with a lot of sensitivity and panache, not only personal realms but, sometimes unconsciously, what Jacques Lacan calls the "subjectivity of an era" or as Michel Foucault puts it the "episteme." This seminar incorporates, in addition to liteary works, critical essays and Internet materials (webpages, videos) to explore what has been at stake in North African societies since the start of the 21st century, which corresponds roughly to the advent of social media. We will focus particularly on the relationship between fragmented representations of reality by masses of connected individuals and idiosyncratic expressions produced by literary actors. How do writers deal with the sudden popularization of speech and discourse online? Do they incorporate or employ different forms of speech within their texts? And how do users of social media address or deal with "elite" literary froms? How does this new ecosystem of discourse production affect the literary world, in terms of content, format and communication? Finally, how do literary texts interact with collective upheavals, such as the 2011 uprisings, largely echoed and accelerated by social media? Novels, plays, and poetry by authors including Yassin Adnane, Kamel Daoud, Abdelfattah Kilito, Laila Lalami, Leila Soliman, Youssef Zaidan.