Michelle Hartman's BREAKING BROKEN ENGLISH (in convo w/ Huda Fakhreddine)


The University of Pennsylvania's Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations,
the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania,
& Penn Book Center are proud to present
a reading and discussion with
—author of—

feat. the author in conversation w/ Huda Fakhreddine!


Black-Arab political and cultural solidarity has had a long and rich history in the United States. That alliance is once again exerting a powerful influence on American society as Black American and Arab American activists and cultural workers are joining forces in formations like the Movement for Black Lives and Black for Palestine to address social justice issues. In Breaking Broken English, Hartman explores the historical and current manifestations of this relationship through language and literature, with a specific focus on Arab American literary works that use the English language creatively to put into practice many of the theories and ideas advanced by Black American thinkers.

Breaking Broken English shows how language is the location where literary and poetic beauty meet the political in creative work. Hartman draws out thematic connections between Arabs/Arab Americans and Black Americans around politics and culture and also highlights the many artistic ways these links are built. She shows how political and cultural ideas of solidarity are written in creative texts and emphasizes their potential to mobilize social justice activists in the United States and abroad in the ongoing struggle for the liberation of Palestine.

"Hartman deftly analyzes Arab American work with Black Studies as a critical lens, offering radical reading strategies that fundamentally shift how we understand Arab American letters. Breaking Broken English should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the field."
—Therí Pickens, author of New Body Politics: Narrating Arab and Black Identity in the Contemporary United States

MICHELLE HARTMAN is professor of Arabic literature and director of the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University as well as a research associate at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at Concordia University. She is the author of several books, including Native Tongue, Stranger Talk: The Arabic and French Literary Landscapes of Lebanon.

HUDA J. FAKHREDDINE is Assistant Professor of Arabic literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition (Brill, 2015) and the co-translator of the two poetry collections: Lighthouse for the Drowning (BOA editions, 2017) and The Sky That Denied Me (University of Texas Press, 2020). Her translations of modern Arabic poems have appeared in BanipalWorld Literature Today, Nimrod, ArabLit Quarterly and Middle Eastern Literatures. Her book of creative non-fiction titled Zaman Saghir taht shams thaniya (A Small Time under a Different Sun) was published by Dar al-Nahda, Beirut in 2019. Her book The Arabic Prose Poem: Poetic Theory and Practice is forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press in 2020. 

Event date: 
Friday, November 8, 2019 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Breaking Broken English: Black-Arab Literary Solidarities and the Politics of Language Cover Image
ISBN: 9780815636380
Availability: Available to Ship
Published: Syracuse University Press - March 26th, 2019

Metapoesis in the Arabic Tradition: From Modernists to Muḥdathūn (Brill Studies in Middle Eastern Literatures #36) Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9789004294561
Availability: Currently not available
Published: Brill - August 7th, 2015

Lighthouse for the Drowning (Lannan Translations Selection) Cover Image
By Jawdat Fakhreddine, Jayson Iwen (Translator), Huda Fakhreddine (Translator)
ISBN: 9781942683391
Availability: Available to Ship
Published: BOA Editions - June 13th, 2017