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Modern Arabic Science Fiction: Science, Society and Religion in Selected Texts

DICK, BARBARA,KATHLEEN (2016) Modern Arabic Science Fiction: Science, Society and Religion in Selected Texts. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.




This thesis examines a selection of original SF or SF-inflected texts written in Arabic from the 1960s to the present day. It is a thematic study, considering their presentation of and attitudes to science and technology, utopias and ideal societies and religion.

Although some critics attempt to figure SF as a continuation of the Thousand and One Nights fantastical tradition and the mirabile literature of the Middle Ages, Arabic science fiction, as an essentially modern genre, traces its earliest origins to the late 1950s in Egypt. It has experienced several sudden efflorescences during the following decades in the texts of a handful of authors, most of whom are Egyptian. In the past ten years, following a 2006 seminal essay by Iraqi-German engineer and SF critic Achmed Khammas on “The Almost Complete Lack of the Element of ‘Futureness’”, media and academic interest in Arabic science fiction has burgeoned, with both established (Ahmed Khalid Towfik) and new (Noura Noman) authors publishing in the genre in the past five years.

In light of the relative lack of criticism of the Arabic corpus, this thesis seeks to begin the project of conducting a full critical study through a reading of selected texts from the 1960s to the present day, the majority of which have not previously been translated into English. The approach taken is broadly sociological, examining the texts in the light of three themes outlined above – science, ideal societies and the treatment of religion - that frequently frame SF criticism in English.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Arabic science fiction; Arab utopias; religion in science fiction
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Dec 2016 14:48

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