Affective Readings: Emotion and Society in/of Egyptian Literature, 1990 to 2020

Published: 2021
Blog for Transregional Research


What are the social functions of reading literature? While many studies approach Arabic literature primarily through the lens of authors, the literary field, or sociopolitical discourses, AGYA member Christian Junge's interdisciplinary postdoctoral research project, “Affective Readings”, shifts the focus to the readers. I ask: What do readers read, and how and why? Turning away from the model of the ‘ideal reader’ as developed by reader response criticism, I’m interested in ‘empirical’ or ‘real’ readers as they appear on social media. On Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Goodreads, Arab and non-Arab users and readers post book reviews about their personal reading experiences, often highlighting affective and intimate dimensions of reading. Taking Egyptian prose literature from 1990 to 2020 as a case study, I approach emotional reading communities and ask about the importance of emotion to society: How does literature narrate society through emotions? And how does society read literature and is affected by it?