• Presentation of Decadent Orientalisms: The Decay of Colonial Modernity

      Fieni, David (2021-10)
      Dr. Fieni will present selections from his book, Decadent Orientalisms: The Decay of Colonial Modernity, which explores how literature in French and Arabic has imagined the relative health and morbidity of France and the Arab World since the mid-19th century. Attentive to historical and literary configurations of language, race, religion, and power, Decadent Orientalisms shows the importance of understanding Western discourses of Eastern decline together with Arab and Islamic responses in which decadence returns as a characteristic of the West. The lecture will range from a discussion of a scandalously carnivalesque Arabic text from 1855 by the Lebanese author Faris Ahmed al-Shidyaq to contemporary writing in French by Arab immigrants in Paris exorcising the specters of their own supposedly “degenerate” status.