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Literary Criticism; Middle Eastern; Social Sciences; Performing arts; Film; Middle East studies


World literature, many have stressed, is a systematic category. Both literary scholars and social scientists have argued that the prestige of the major literary languages is key to establishing the shape of the overall system. In order to critically interrogate world literature and cinema, Premises and Problems approaches this system from the perspective of languages and film traditions that do not hold a hegemonic position. This perspective raises new questions about the nature of literary hegemony and the structure of world literature: How is hegemony established? What are the costs of losing it? What does hegemony mask? How is it masked? The contributors focus predominantly on literatures outside the small circle of prestigious modern European languages and on films and film criticism produced outside the best-known centers. The inclusion of this unfamiliar material calls attention to some areas of obscurity that make key features of the system indistinct, or that make it difficult to trace relationships between texts that hold different levels of prestige, such as those of the Global North and the Global South. The book argues that the study of world literature and cinema will profit from a sustained and informed engagement with the body of work produced by historical social scientists committed to the perspective of the world-system.

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Open Access funded by the State University of New York at Binghamton. Published by SUNY Press.

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Premises and Problems: Essays on World Literature and Cinema