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Vernacular poetry in the Arabian Peninsula today

Nouveaux accents de la poésie dialectale en péninsule Arabique

Journal Arabian Humanities #5

Revue Arabian Humanities n°5

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Published on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 by Rémi Boivin

Summary

The theme of the fifth issue of Arabian Humanities aims to investigate the place and role of poetry in today’s Arabian societies and the functions it assumes, the values conveyed by the different types of vernacular poetry, their possible involvement in the emergence of nation-states in the Peninsula or the re-shaping of Arabian tribalism, and the emergence of new tastes and cultural needs.

Announcement

Argument

Poetry in the Arabian Peninsula has not only been for centuries the supreme art form, it has also been from time immemorial the main medium of social intercourse, not only by expressing yearnings, love, conflicts and alliances, but by creating them, the composition or recitation of a poem being in itself a social and political act, in peacetime as in wartime. The oral poetry recorded by the Arabic scholars of the classical era has not ceased to live, function and evolve among the Peninsula’s populations until today, though we now call it colloquial because of the parallel development of a written learned tradition in classical Arabic.

In the second part of the 20th century the Arabian societies have been deeply affected by various historical processes, among which industrialization, urbanization, the settlement of nomadic populations, the spread of literacy and the appearance of new means of communication. Poetry, as a cultural practice so inextricably linked with its social functions, could not but face a major challenge in such a context. Now it appears that in all the countries of the Peninsula, colloquial poetry, whether it be sung or not, still arouses a deep interest among individuals in their everyday life, but also with institutional actors. Its presence is conspicuous in TV programs, internet sites, newspapers, printed books and diwan‑s, and many festivals or competitions are devoted to it. Colloquial poetry thus seems to have adapted to new situations and to have become pervasive in new ways of life and communication.

We wish to make this transformation the theme of the fifth issue of Arabian Humanities: what its salient features are — and what its limits should be recognized as being, focusing on the status of colloquial poetic genres and the corresponding means of diffusion.

The objective is to investigate the place and role of poetry in today’s Arabian societies and the functions it assumes, the values conveyed by the different types of vernacular poetry, their possible involvement in the emergence of nation-states in the Peninsula or the re-shaping of Arabian tribalism, and the emergence of new tastes and cultural needs.

An important emphasis will be put on the production, diffusion and reception of colloquial poetry, exploring how new communication technologies (printed publication, TV, radio, audio recorders, mobile phones, the Internet) as well as mass education and literacy have affected its distribution and very nature. The institutional or informal actors involved in its circulation should be determined. The poetic practices themselves are unlikely to have remained unchanged; these include the way poems are composed, memorized, transmitted, recited and consumed, but also how they fit into the precise social circumstances of their recitation and the attendent effects they designed for them. The status of poets in society is in this regard particularly worth examining. The very nature of the social act of composing a poem may well have changed dramatically. Consequently, poetry’s linguistic features as well as its content, structures, topics and motifs can be expected to have experienced noticeable transformations.

Particular attention will be paid to the disparities that characterize the Peninsula and its cultures. Different sections of society may have been unequally affected by recent changes (educated vs. illiterate, nomad vs. sedentary, town dwellers vs. peasants, poor vs. rich countries…), with possible important regional or linguistic discrepancies (for instance in the status of the various local Arabic dialects or literary koine-s, or of the non-Arabic languages of Arabia). The precise nature of the poetic genres under scrutiny (nabatī, zāmil, ḥumaynī, sawṭ, dān, etc.) and the way they are re-defined in a new context should be kept within our sights.

Submission guidelines

Each article, which can be written either in French, in English or in Arabic, will be submitted to two external referees of the Editorial Board.

Proposals for papers should be sent before Februray 5, 2014 to:

They will include:

  • The title of the paper
  • An abstract of 15 to 20 lines
  • Data allowing the exact identification of the author: Full name, Institutional affiliation and function, Institutional address, Phone number, E-Mail.

The deadline for submission of articles (no longer than 9,000 words) is May 15, 2014.

Authors are requested to meet the publication norms of Arabian Humanities, available here or from the Editorial Secretary, Sylvaine Giraud (edition@cefas.com.ye).

Editors

  • Philip Kennedy 
  • Mohamed Bakhouch
  • Julien Dufour 
  • Frédéric Lagrange 

Scientific comittee

  • Mohamed Bakhouch, Maître de conférences, Université d’Aix-Marseille
  • Peter Behnstedt, Professeur émérite, Université de Tübingen
  • Steve Caton, Professeur, Université de Harvard
  • Clive Holes, Professeur, Département des études orientales, Université d’Oxford
  • Philip Kennedy, Professeur associé, Université de New York Abu Dhabi
  • Marie-Claude Simeone-Senelle, Directrice de recherche, CNRS LLACAN
  • Saad Sowayan, Professeur émérite, Université du roi Saoud, Riyad
  • Élisabeth Vauthier, Professeur, Université de Rennes

Date(s)

  • Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Keywords

  • poésie, péninsule arabique, poetry

Contact(s)

  • Juliette Honvault
    courriel : jhonvault [at] yahoo [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Sylvaine Giraud
    courriel : edition [at] cefas [dot] com [dot] ye

To cite this announcement

« Vernacular poetry in the Arabian Peninsula today », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, https://calenda.org/274321

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