Blurring the Boundaries of History and Fiction: Re-imagining the Past and Re-defining the Present through the Lens of Saudi Women Novelists

Zahia Smail Salhi, Alfraih Ibrahim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Subscribing to New Area Studies this chapter strives to look beneath the plethora of stereotypes in circulation about Saudi Arabia (SA). It argues that contrary to the Orientalist cliché about a static and unmovable Orient (Said, 1978) SA is gruellingly changing. However, against the media reports which claim that this cycle of change and social transformation were heralded by clairvoyant Kings, this chapter suggests that a wave of change along with a feminist awakening which took root in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War (Salhi, 2017) are starting to bear fruit in all areas of SA society.
This chapter probes the significance of history for women and explores the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca as a watershed in the modern history of SA women. It does so by investigating the multiple tools deployed by Al-Hashr in her novel Fragmentation, to engage with history and represent women and their approach to, and negotiation of, religion and gender relations. Although Fragmentation predominantly addresses the diverse themes of love, modernity, the crucial role of religion and extremism with a focus on social transformation in SA, the seizure of the Grand Mosque features as a momentous event which marks the end of one era and the beginning of another.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNecessary Travel
Subtitle of host publicationNew Area Studies and Canada in Comparative Perspective
EditorsSusan Hodgett, Patrick James
Place of PublicationMaryland
PublisherLexington Books
Chapter8
Pages99-113
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781498545150
ISBN (Print)9781498545143
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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