Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre takes part in ‘Introduction to Arab Literary Criticism’ conference at Columbia University

Abu Dhabi,

The Sheikh Zayed Book Award (SZBA) at the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), participated in the ‘Introduction to Arab Literary Criticism’ conference at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS) at Columbia University in New York.

The conference discussed notable issues regarding literature and literary criticism, which shed light on the beginnings of Arab literary criticism as a tangible practice in pre-modern times, the transfer of subjective approaches in contemporary Arab criticism from Morocco to the Levant, and the role of translation in the development of Arab literary criticism. The event also explored poetry and criticism in different eras, body language in Arabic literature, and other major topics in the field.

His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, noted the importance of collaboration with the prestigious Columbia University on such specialised international conferences, which he described as an important part of the literary studies in comparative critical contexts that demonstrate the nature of interactions between literature and the resulting shifts in vision and content.

The conference explored the development of rhetoric in classical Arabic poetry, educational criticism, as well as literary comparison models in the study of Suleiman al-Bustani and his translation of Homer’s Iliad, and moral and political discourse in Arab literary criticism through time.

On another note, the sessions discussed topics including ‘Poetry Stanzas in the Muqalleen Record: Constants and Variables of Arab Literary Theory’ and ‘Sites of Arabic Literature Theory’, along with theory courses.

Now in its second edition, the conference is considered to be the largest of its kind, specialising in the Arabic language and comparative studies. The event discusses the development of Arabic literature over time and analyses its various transformations in an innovative manner, with a cohort of scholars and researchers in the fields of criticism and literature.

The programme for the conference was launched in March 2021 with a virtual discussion session titled ‘Theory of Arabic Literature: Prospects and Limits’ on 19 March 2021. The first session was then organised on Columbia University campus in New York from 14 to 17 December 2021. The first edition of the conference covered a range of topics in the field of literary theory and its development, as well as key issues related to Arabic literature. Sessions also discussed contemporary challenges in Arabic literature, and the issue of decolonisation as a theory.