The Middle East map has undergone a remarkable change since the rise of geopolitical borders in the early twentieth century. These borders constructed by colonial powers and maintained by postcolonial ones have not only divided the region into nation-states but have also entailed boundaries between people on the basis of national, cultural, linguistic and religious differences. This study examines how borders and boundaries are contested and subverted in two Third World narrative productions set in the Middle East: In an Antique Land (1992) by the Indian-Bengali writer Amitav Ghosh and Ra'aytu RÄ m AllÄ h (1997), a memoir by the Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti (translated as I Saw Ramallah [2000] by the Egyptian writer Ahdaf Soueif). In the light of Edward Said's recurrent reference to the interlink between narrative and geopolitics, this comparative study examines how histories in both works challenge spatial and temporal configurations interlocked with these boundariesâ histories that are left out of mainstream narratives. Both works contest geopolitical maps enforced by power structures by foregroundingâ what Joel Migdal callsâ â people's mental maps.â This study examines Ghosh and Barghouti's shared subversive approach to this issue but also highlights instances where they depart in terms of worldview and stylistic approach. Moreover, it sheds light on the subversive role of literary and stylistic elements in both works thereby revealing the overlap between the two texts. This study crosses disciplinary boundaries and reveals how literature bears on geopolitics through two works that uncover multiple maps of the region.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date


Submission Date

February 2012

First Advisor

Ghazoul, Ferial

Second Advisor

Abdel sser, Tahia



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Barghūtī, Murīd.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Ghosh, Amitav -- Travel -- Egypt.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item