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Dr Gibson Ncube

Home country: Zimbabwe

Year of enrolment: 2012

Graduation date: December 2014

Department:  Modern Foreign Languages (French)

Supervisor: Dr Magdalena Ngaiza

Dissertation title: Constructions et representations litteraires de la sexualite « marginale » sur les deux rives de la Mediterranee : Rachid O., Eyet-Chekib Djaziri, Abdellah Taia et Ilmann Bel

"Literary constructions and representations of "marginal" sexualities on both sides of the Mediterranean: Rachid O. Eyet-Chèkib Djaziri, Abdellah Taia and Ilmann Bell"

Abstract: "Marginal" sexualities continue to be veiled by a cloud of silence and taboo in the Arab-Muslim societies. This study puts into conversation literary narratives by four writers of Maghrebian descent who have dared to break the intolerably irksome silence surrounding homosexuality. The novels of Rachid O., Abdellah Taïa, Eyet-Chékib Djaziri and Ilmann Bel are synchronous with the growing interest in the potential common points between literary production and queer sexualities in the Maghreb (and indeed other Arab/Muslim regions). Drawing on hermeneutic perspectives as well as diverse readings in gender and queer studies, this literary analysis deconstructs the problematic figure of the homosexual which is at once contentious as well as the locus of manifold discourses that are concerned with questioning the status quo whilst unveiling the unutterable. The literary construction and representation of "marginal" sexuality certainly plays a pivotal role in destabilising and challenging the simplistic conceptions of identity and value systems that underlie the designations of "correct and incorrect" sexual orientations and identities. Elaborating a comprehensive interpretative paradigm, this study attempts to fill the yawning gap in scholarship on the relationship between francophone literary production from the Maghreb and homosexuality. Adopting a tri-sequential approach, the study begins with an explanatory phase which contextualises queer sexuality as well as queer literary studies in the Maghreb and in France. An encounter phase follows offering a hermeneutic reading of the selected novels of the four writers, concentrating particularly on the definition, characterisation and general tonality of the literary works. The ultimate stage, the interpretive/theorisation phase, encompasses a re-reading of primary and secondary texts alongside each other so as to construct an original appraisal of the novels as well as develop a theoretically sound consideration of the construction of "marginal" sexualities in the selected novels. In addition to the above-enumerated tri-sequential approach, the argumentative flow of the study equally follows a three-pronged progression: production-text-reception. The first phase scrutinises the sociocultural, political and historical context in which the literary texts under consideration are created. The "text" phase analyses the novels in question in order to elaborate a theorisation of the construction and representation of "marginal" sexuality in the autofictional works of the aforementioned writers. The "reception" phase goes beyond the purely textual and delves into the possible impact of these literary texts on the everyday world of Arab-Muslim societies, in France as in the Maghreb.

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