- Fellowship Dates 2015-2015
- Research Topic The Journalistic Writings of Yusuf Idris, 1960-91
- Fellow or Grant Type Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
- Affiliation Post-doctoral candidate University of California, Davis
Yousif Idris (1927-91) is acknowledged as one of the finest short story writers in Egypt and the Arab world. His contributions as the author of several important novels have been acknowledged, as well as his significant contributions to the theater as a playwright and a theater critic. Idris’s contribution to Egyptian and Arab intellectual life, however, goes beyond his literary output. This research focuses on his journalistic output as no less important than his creative writings. A study of his output as a columnist brings appreciation to the intellectual and political debates that Idris stirred through some of his columns and provides new and interesting perspectives on the cultural political and socio-economic developments during three decades of Egypt’s history (1960-90). This research fills a lacuna in understanding the intellectual significance of Yusuf Idris. His columns pitted him against some of the most powerful political as well as intellectual figures of his time. Interestingly, a historically contextualized reading of his columns (yet to be comprehensively attempted) would demonstrate that that much as he did not shy away from engaging in the most heated debates or even starting them, and much as he staunchly defended many a controversial statement, he was also willing to change his positions and retract some of his condemnations and praise should he arrive at new understanding and assessment. Added to conversations with Egyptian writers and scholars with living memories of Idris the writer, the intellectual, the archival resources at al-Jumhuriyya (1960-69) and al-Ahram (1969-91) contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of Idris’s output, its contexts and the responses it produced. This research will result in a monograph on Yusuf Idris as a public intellectual, analyzing the impact of his journalistic writings on modern Arab intellectual history in a comparative framework that includes contemporaneous Arab and non-Arab intellectuals.