Executive Summary

The purpose of the Warwick DAR is to provide a reliable, up-to-date, peer reviewed set of resources on the politics, cultures and literatures of the Arab world that can be used by academics from across the disciplines. In the first phase of its development, Warwick DAR will consist of resources relevant to 3 countries: Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. These countries have been chosen because there is an extensive range of material available on them and because of my personal familiarity with their cultures, their literatures and politics and the dialect of Arabic used in each of them.

At present, the University of Warwick does not have a department for teaching Arabic literature nor does it have a centre for the study of the Arab world. However, Arabic-related research and teaching takes place in various parts of campus: - Language Centre - Theatre studies - Classics - History of Medicine - Sociology - Politics and International Studies (PAIS) - Law - English

The material in the database will be compiled in consultation with these departments and original contributions by academics will be solicited. In this respect, Warwick DAR will become a useful research reference library as well as a teaching resource.

As a teaching resource, the database will be immediately relevant to 3 new modules which I propose to convene and to teach in collaboration with colleagues from other departments.

The teaching approach on these modules utilises interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary models to encourage students from different academic backgrounds to employ a variety of critical and rhetorical discourses while analysing set themes. Each module will focus students’ attention on the complex and often contradictory nature of narratives that permeate the social, political and literary spheres and to encourage them to read those narratives through the perspectives of law, history, journalism, film and literary criticism.

Seminars will bring together participants from different departments. Students and teaching staff will engage in a series of workshops, facilitated by IATL fellows and informed by the content of the database, that allow them to re-think their own academic practice while widening the range of references they employ.

At the undergraduate level, Warwick DAR will be used to enable the teaching of a survey module on Arabic literature. At MA level, 2 modules will be taught using the content of the database and their focus will be on particular themes / topics / problems relevant to the contemporary world. At MA level, the modules will require a wider range of reading and a more sophisticated and independent approach to the material.

The modules are structured around a “problem” or “theme”. The teaching methods encourage the students’ active engagement with the social, cultural, legal and literary conditions which give rise to the “problem”. Teaching will be led by academics from disciplines such as law, film, history, Classics, English, philosophy who will encourage students to experiment with a variety of reading approaches. Students will be exposed to a variety of sources which often contradict each other and they will be expected to develop an informed, critically sound, original and creative response to the problem posed. To this end, the teaching will not be restricted to the traditional formula of lecture - seminar. Instead, students will be expected to be proactive in shaping the content of each module with guidance from IATL fellows. The database will provide access to legal documents, pieces of journalism, film productions, interviews with prominent figures, museum collections, music recordings, and theatre productions.