Annette Damayanti Lienau
- Assistant Professor
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
In the Spirit of Bandung: On the Politics and Poetics of Linguistic Choice in the Comparative Literatures of Indonesia, Egypt, and Senegal, 1905-Present
This dissertation compares the politics and poetics of language choice in Indonesian, Senegalese and Egyptian literary history (as national case studies from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East). The dissertation comparatively examines key historical moments through which the contours of literary nationalism were posited and challenged by ideologically informed, transnational literary movements (Communism and Islamism). This combination of national case studies is in part due to the shared religious heritage (among the majority of writers) of the three nations considered. The position of Egypt, Senegal, and Indonesia at the center and periphery of a literary realm with a common Islamic textual tradition therefore offers a primary basis for comparison between the case studies.
Arabic and its Linguistic Rivals: Sacred Language and the Crisis of Post-Colonial Literature
"Arabic and its Linguistic Rivals" engages with the political and cultural legacy of Arabic as a sacralized language and script, underscoring its changing symbolic value across the twentieth century in West African, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern contexts. The project considers the extent to which a common linguistic situation—the historical use of the Arabic script for transcribing vernacular languages and the preservation of the Arabic language as a sacred, religious medium—has influenced the evolution of literatures in three national cases with distinct imperial legacies: Senegal, controlled by the French, Indonesia by the Dutch, and Egypt by the Ottoman Empire and subsequently by the British Empire.