Clandestine Mediterranean: Arab-African Undocumented Migrant Literature
Nahrain Al-Mousawi received her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, in Comparative Literature, with a focus on Arabic and English literature. Her MA was from the University of Texas, Austin, in Middle East Studies. Her BA was in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation “Clandestine Mediterranean: Arab-African Migrant Literature” focuses on undocumented migrant narratives from North Africa across the Mediterranean, as well as conceptualizations of the Mediterranean from a geo-literary perspective. As a EUME Fellow, she will work on a book manuscript based on her dissertation and expand her analysis to include literary and other cultural productions from West Africa.
Focusing on postcolonial Arabic and English literature, Al-Mousawi will examine journey narratives from the Mediterranean’s southern shores to the global North, and in doing so, will examine past and present conceptualizations of the Mediterranean as both a dividing border and unifying contact zone. She will explore how the clandestine migrant figure in the Arab and Afro-Arab world is imagined through what she refers to as the paradox of cosmopolitanism and containment of the Mediterranean.
As a EUME Fellow, she will prepare her book manuscript and expand her focus beyond North Africa on undocumented migration across the Saharan divide (the North-South divide within Africa). This will enable her to explore how identities are racialized across the Saharan divide. Further exploration of narratives from West Africa would provide a more nuanced view of how Africa has been re-shaped in terms of its borders and relationship to Europe.