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Michael Allan Wins MLA Prize for First Book

Comparative Literature Associate Professor Michael Allan is the recipient of the Modern Languages Association Prize for a First Book for his In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt. The text of the award reads as follows:

Michael Allan’s In the Shadow of World Literature makes a momentous intervention into discussions about the global status of literary culture by way of modern Arabic writing and in doing so poses the big questions of our time about the nature and operation of literature. Allan asks how certain forms of writing come to be designated as world literature and addresses the secular and colonial energies that underpin that categorization in relation or opposition to, among other things, illiteracy, premodernization, and scripture. This is a timely and trenchantly argued book; Allan’s examination of the putative opposition between the reading practices and sensibilities applied to the Qur’an and those derived from the West could hardly be more urgent.

For additional press and an audio interview, see the following links:

[photo by Edward Savaria, Jr]