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. My hope for the book is that it will shift perspectives in literary studies to different foci, painting a more complete vision of the literary history of the Arabic language.
Dr Hawraa Al-Hassan is an associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy, having taught Arabic and modern history of the Middle East at the University of Cambridge. Hawraa completed her PhD in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge and gained an MA in Comparative Literature at University College London. She is interested in the cultural history of the Arab world in so far as it relates to totalitarianism, propaganda and nationalism. Hawraa’s research focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to the Arab novel as a conduit of group identities. Her current project explores Iraqi Ba’thist involvement in the production of literary and media discourses on gender and nation, whilst considering the potential of resistive ‘counter-public’ spaces, be they Islamic or secular.
Nadirah Mansour is a graduate student at Princeton University's Department of Near Eastern Studies working on the global intellectual history of the Arabic-language press. She tweets @NAMansour26 and produces another Middle-East and North Africa-related podcast: Reintroducing.