Dr. Mary Youssef is Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at Binghamton University. Her research areas include Modern and Contemporary Arabic Literature, Postcolonial Studies, World Literature, Genre Studies, Migration Studies, Gender Studies, Arab Women’s Writing and African Literature. She is currently working on a new book: Rethinking Difference: The Emergence of a New Consciousness in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel. Dr. Youssef describes a new development among contemporary Egyptian writers, who present Egyptian society as fundamentally heterogeneous, consisting of several diverse groups that undermine commonly held assumptions about national identity. Fr. Marc and Richard reflect on Dr. Youssef’s ideas as they relate to the biblical tradition, especially her thesis on the function of “the other” in Arabic literature. The discussion leads to some surprising and helpful parallels between the two genres.
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