Course Spotlight: Con Artists in Arabic

Adel Imam in the trapCourse Description

If pulling off a great prank is a challenge, then profiting from it is an art. Arabic literature, comics, films, and television love to showcase the challenge and the art itself—that’s the topic of African 300, on Arabic literary culture in translation. The course will work with sources ranging from the last Iraqi caliphate to 21st-century animation. This course asks how people conspire, beg, steal, and fool each other with creative language. How do we know who’s believable? How does belief itself operate in fiction? What are the consequences of catching a thief, fraud, or fast talker in the act?  Are we as critical readers also complicit at times, despite all our analytical efforts?

Sample Readings/Viewings

  • Abdelfattah Kilito
  • Alifa Rifaat
  • The Arabian Nights
  • Ghassan Kanafani
  • Jay-Z, Samia Mehrez
  • Tewfik Saleh

Enrollment Details

African Languages and Literature 300: Con Artists in Arabic
3 credits
T/TH 2:30-3:45pm, 575 Van Hise Hall
Spring 2016

About the Instructor

Samuel England is Assistant Professor of Arabic in the Department of African Languages & Literature. He teaches Classical and modern Arabic, Mediterranean cultures, and sub-Saharan African sources. His specializations and research interests include Classical Arabic poetry and prose, drama, court culture in the Middle East and Europe, Crusades literature, and Romance-language treatments of Islam.