Fénelon's Gods, al-Tahtawi's Jinn: Trans-Mediterranean Fictionalities - A talk by Shaden Tageldin

03/19/2012 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

1210 Heller Hall

Shaden M. Tageldin is associate professor of cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota, where she joined the faculty in August 2004. A specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literatures in English, Arabic, and French, her research and teaching engage several fields within a transnational and a translingual compass: empire and postcolonial studies; critical translation theory; the historiography of literary and cultural “renaissances”; the politics and ideologies of language, literary form, and literary genre; and literatures of migration and diaspora. Tageldin earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004.


Her book, Disarming Words: Empire and the Seductions of Translation in Egypt (University of California Press, 2011), analyzes the afterlives of two colonial occupations of Egypt—the French (1798) and the British (1882)—to show how Egyptian intellectuals, first as warily intrigued receivers of European “self-translations” into Arab-Islamicity and then as admiring producers of Arabic translations from European literature, psychologically attached themselves to empire even as they imagined themselves to be overcoming colonial domination.  Based on her award-winning doctoral dissertation, which received the 2005 Charles Bernheimer Prize from the American Comparative Literature Association, Tageldin’s book traces the psychodynamics of (post)colonial translation through both literary representations of Egyptian-European encounter and French-Arabic and English-Arabic literary translations. Her most recent publications include “Mahfouz's Posts,” in the Modern Language Association (MLA) volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Naguib Mahfouz; “The Returns of Theory,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43.4 (November 2011); “Secularizing Islam: Carlyle, al-Siba‘i, and the Translations of ‘Religion’ in British Egypt,” PMLA 126.1 (January 2011); and “One Comparative Literature? ‘Birth’ of a Discipline in French-Arabic Translation, 1810-1834,” Comparative Literature Studies 47.4 (2010). She also has published essays on the African novel in Arabic; the politics of language, gender, and (post)coloniality in the Algerian women's fiction of Assia Djebar and Ahlam Mustaghanimi; the poetics of postcolonial migration in Sakinna Boukhedenna and Agha Shahid Ali; the nineteenth-century Egyptian translator and intellectual “reformer” Rifa‘a al-Tahtawi; and language, colonialism, and dismemberment in Naguib Mahfouz.


A past fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, in 2011 she held a U.S. Fulbright Scholar research award in Egypt, and in 2007 a postdoctoral fellowship from the Berlin-based research program “Europe in the Middle East—The Middle East in Europe,” co-sponsored by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Arabic Literature and a past chair of the executive committee of the MLA Discussion Group (now Division) on Arabic Literature and Culture.

Organized by the Institute for Advanced Study's Mediterranean Identities Collaborative.

As of spring 2011, Heller Hall is home to the following academic units:

Art History, Department of

Conflict Resolution, Office for

271 19th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55455