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The Two-Edged Sea

Heterotopias of Contemporary Mediterranean Migrant Literature


Much Mediterranean migrant literature captures the Mediterranean’s fossilized binaries, North and South. But, The Two-Edged Sea also reveals that one inheres within the other. While the book explores two Mediterraneans, with asymmetrical power relations that reflect the sea’s northern and southern shores, it also delves into how they have been in dialogue with each other, effectively deconstructing the binary. Charting undocumented journeys from the Mediterranean’s southern shores, the book contributes both to discourse on migration literature and the current resurgence of the study of seas, while advancing the idea of the Mediterranean as both a dividing border and unifying contact zone.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4372-2
  • *
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Oct 29,2021
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 240
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-4372-2
$112.00
Your price: $89.60

The boat journey is central to the narrative of Mediterranean migration of the undocumented. The boat itself is flimsy, fragile, unstable, and easily breakable. It is trifling and insubstantial. But it has captured the attention of the world – after all, the boat and its aftermath have produced recurring images of migrants washing up along southern Europe’s picturesque beaches in the visual archive of undocumented migration. But the boat has also sharply put into relief the divides of the Mediterranean. After all, the few miles of the Mediterranean separating Africa’s northern shore and Europe’s southern shore is a common observation in migrant narratives. At the same time, they also reflect on how the Mediterranean has been imagined as starkly divided into two incommensurable spaces and civilizational models – North and South (in actuality, by colonial powers in the modern period).

Much Mediterranean migrant literature indeed captures the Mediterranean’s fossilized binaries, North and South. But, The Two-Edged Sea also reveals that one inheres within the other. While the book explores two Mediterraneans, with asymmetrical power relations that reflect the sea’s northern and southern shores, it also delves into how they are and have been in dialogue with each other, effectively deconstructing the binary.

The boat journey is central to the narrative of Mediterranean migration of the undocumented. The boat itself is flimsy, fragile, unstable, and easily breakable. It is trifling and insubstantial. But it has captured the attention of the world – after all, the boat and its aftermath have produced recurring images of migrants washing up along southern Europe’s picturesque beaches in the visual archive of undocumented migration. But the boat has also sharply put into relief the divides of the Mediterranean. After all, the few miles of the Mediterranean separating Africa’s northern shore and Europe’s southern shore is a common observation in migrant narratives. At the same time, they also reflect on how the Mediterranean has been imagined as starkly divided into two incommensurable spaces and civilizational models – North and South (in actuality, by colonial powers in the modern period).

Much Mediterranean migrant literature indeed captures the Mediterranean’s fossilized binaries, North and South. But, The Two-Edged Sea also reveals that one inheres within the other. While the book explores two Mediterraneans, with asymmetrical power relations that reflect the sea’s northern and southern shores, it also delves into how they are and have been in dialogue with each other, effectively deconstructing the binary.

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ContributorBiography

Nahrain Al-Mousawi

Nahrain Al-Mousawi is a scholar of Arabic and Anglophone literature of the Middle East and North Africa, primarily dealing with postcolonial, migration, and Mediterranean literature. She has held recent positions as Assistant Professor of World Literature at the University of Balamand, Lebanon, as well as Postdoctoral Fellowships in Modern Arabic Literature and Culture at Washington University in St. Louis and the EUME (Europe in the Middle East) Program in Berlin.

Table of Contents (v)
Acknowledgments (vii)
Introduction (1)
Chapter 1. Memory Work in the Mediterranean Crossing: Nostalgia in Morocco’s Migration Literature (45)
Chapter 2. The Immigrant Dream: ‘Dream? Nightmare, More Like’ (71)
Chapter 3. Imagining the Mediterranean and Its Migrants: The Ambivalence of the Uncanny (89)
Chapter 4. Mediterranean Frontier, Mediterranean Circuit: Undocumented Migration in Egyptian Literature’s Double Imaginary (113)
Chapter 5. Saharan-Mediterranean Transits: Impossible ‘Arrival’ (141)
Chapter 6. Death at the Border: Making and Unmaking the Migrating Body (169)
Conclusion (195)
Bibliography (207)
Index (225)

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