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Julia Wurr

Julia Wurr
Address IRTG Diversity
University of Trier
DM 114
Phone +49 651 201-3230
E-Mail wurr@uni-trier.de
 

Dissertation

From Tahrir to Terror: (Neo-)Orientalism in European and North American Fiction since the 'Arab Spring' (2011-2016)

(Supervisors: Wolfgang Klooß, Trier / Frauke Matthes, Edinburgh)

At a time when there is hardly a discourse more virulent than that of the alleged clash of civilisations between 'East' and 'West', my PhD project aims at investigating the current state of Orientalism in recent European and North American fiction. By analysing English-, French- and German-speaking novels depicting the so-called 'Arab Spring', Islamist terrorism and fictional Muslim takeovers of Western countries, I wish to retrace the literary (re?)framing of 'Oriental' spaces since 2011.

While at least for a short period, intellectuals such as Slavoj Žižek or Hamid Dabashi hailed the 'Arab Spring' as a chance to override fossilised dichotomies, no such post-Oriental paradigm shift has manifested in the literary realm. Rather than creating new spaces of solidarity, narrative strategies – even when ironising – tend to rely on stereotypes regarding 'the Arab’s' alleged affect-driven behaviour, propensity for violence, lust, backwardness, passivity, and inability to establish democracy or rule of law. Furthermore, the binary of security vs. threat has recently regained momentum up to a point of bringing into prominence a genre which we might call Islamodystopia.

By means of a transnationalist synchronic close reading and by drawing on the social constructivist concept of securitisation, I will examine how configurations of (Orientalist) stereotypes and subversive tropes frame literary projections of those developments regarding the Middle East most widely received in Western mass media. By thus identifying both processes of cultural othering and cosmopolitan inclusion, I hope to shed some light on the increasing securitisation of Arabs and Muslims and to answer the question of how Western fiction with an 'Eastern' sujet negotiates, condensates and narrativises the (de)construction of diversity.

Current Activities

06/2019
Invited Talk "Literarische (Re)volten: Der 'Arabische Frühling' auf dem europäischen Buchmarkt"
Romanistik im Diskurs, Kritische Frankoromanistik, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, 26/06/2019

Education

10/2007 - 07/2015
Studies of English Literature and Linguistics, French Literature and International Relations, University of Trier, Germany: Magistra Artium (M.A.): 1.0 with distinction
10/2011 - 07/2012
Graduate visiting student, Oxford University, Great Britain: Translation Studies
02/2010 - 07/2010
Integrated semester abroad (Erasmus grant), University of Liège, Belgium

Work Experience

2018 - 2019
Lecturer (undergraduate seminar: "Shakespeare's Rome", University of Trier, Germany)
2017
Lecturer (graduate seminar: "Orientalism and the Anglophone Post-'Arab Spring' Novel", University of Trier, Germany)
2016/2015/ 2013/2011
Teaching assistant, University of Trier, Germany, Chair for English and American Literature
08/2013 - 10/2013
Intern, Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, Germany, Editorial office for International Literature
10/2012 - 03/2013
Research assistant, University of Trier, Germany, Chair for English and American Literature
07/2012
Intern, Routledge, Abingdon, Great Britain, Editorial office for Language Learning and Linguistics
09/2010 - 12/2010
Intern, Goethe-Institut Brussels, Belgium, Cultural Programme

Awards and Fellowships

03/2015 - 05/2015
Scholarship of Excellence Programme, State of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany: Funding of Master’s thesis
10/2011 - 07/2012
Full scholarship awarded by Jesus College for one academic year at Oxford University, Great Britain

Publications

2019
"L’orientalisme, le 'Printemps arabe' et le dialogue interculturel sur le marché littéraire européen", in: Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink, Sarga Moussa (eds.), Dialogues interculturels à l’époque coloniale et postcoloniale. Représentations littéraires et culturelles – Orient, Maghreb et Afrique occidentale (de 1830 à nos jours), Éditions Kimé.

2011
"Wettrüsten in Asien? Die Modernisierung der chinesischen Streitkräfte und die Reaktionen regionaler Großmächte. Ein Bericht über die Trierer China-Gespräche 2011", in: Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik 4, 751-5.
2011
"Trierer China-Gespräche: Wettrüsten in Asien? Die Modernisierung der chinesischen Streitkräfte und die Reaktionen regionaler Großmächte", in: Asien 121, 82-4.

Conference Presentations

11/2018
Knowledge, Power, and Security: Orientalism and Securitisation in Contemporary Francophone Fiction
Orientalism and the Francophone Postcolonial World: Legacies of Edward W. Said, London, 16-17/11/2018.
11/2017
Literary Perspectives on the 'Arab Spring': A Post-Orientalist Window of Opportunity?
Dialogues interculturels à l’époque coloniale et postcoloniale. Représentations littéraires et culturelles – Orient, Maghreb et Afrique occidentale (de 1830 à nos jours), Deutsches Historisches Institut, Paris, 08-10/11/2017.
07/2017
Translating Fear and Alterity: Neo-Orientalist Poetics of In_Security in Post-'Arab Spring' Fiction
Translating Fear – 10th Colloquium on Translation Studies in Portugal, Lisbon, 20-21/07/2017.
 
 
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