Literary Representation of Women in Moroccan Feminist Writings

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  • Topic: Sociology, Postcolonialism, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
  • Pages : 91 (29481 words )
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  • Published : January 26, 2013
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Mohamed 1 University Master Program on Humanities Area Studies: Colonial and Post-colonial discourse Faculty of Letters and Humanities

Department of English

Literary representation of women in Moroccan feminist writings

Written by: El kouy Boujamaa

Supervised by: Dr. ElKouche Mohamed


This monograph is dedicated to all people of ‘Douar Iazanene Beni Boughafar’. My thanks and appreciations to Dr. Mohammed El kouch for persevering with me as my advisor through time it took me to complete this monograph. I need also to express my gratitude and deep appreciation to all my professors whose friendship and wisdom have supported and enlightened me over these two years.

Sincere appreciation goes to my parents and family; I would not have started without their wholehearted and enthusiastic supports. I’m grateful also for the support and advice from my faculty colleagues, especially, Mr. Hamid Sette for his encouragement and emotional support during these two years.


I. The subalternity and minor literature: Theoretical assumptions A-Who is the subaltern and what is minority Literature?
B-Spivak’s perception of the subaltern’s ability to speak C-Post-Colonial theory’s counter arguments to Spivak

II. Feminism between the margin and the center
A- Historicizing and defining feminism
B- The uses and abuses of feminist discourse
C- Feminism and its intersections with postcolonial theory

III. Writing and voice: The representation of women in Moroccan feminist minor literature in English A-The emergence of Moroccan literature in English
B-Women between reality and resistance in Leila Abuzid’s The last Chapter and Year of Elephant. C- The depiction of women in male feminist writings in English, Benouarrek’s The Journey and Zrizi’s Jomana as examples




The question of the ability of the subaltern or marginalized people to speak is a hotly disputed topic in our modern era. In her influential essay, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak comes to the realization and to her categorical conclusion that the subaltern cannot speak. Additionally, she overemphazes the destructive power of a combined, all powerful colonial-patriarchal force and its silencing effects on the subaltern subjects. In her estimation, the subaltern is helpless, voiceless, and the victim of epistemic violence. Similarly, she maintains that the subaltern is denied access to both mimetic and political forms of representation. Beyond and above, theorists of subalternity believe that the subaltern voices are silenced by the official discourses of colonialism and patriarchy. In this framework, Marxist ideology stresses the fact that the subaltern subjects are unable to know their condition of oppression, because they are unreservedly ignorant and incapable to distinguish between their desires and interests. Therefore, they are unable to convey and present their individual expression in their own authentic voice.

Starting from the definition that the subaltern is a term that commonly refers to individual or groups outside the hegemonic power structure; feminism can be conceived to be one of the movements or minor voices that powerfully struggle for social justice taking place in the world today. Likewise, it can be noticed that feminists as subalterns are fervently struggling for justice and women’s rights to end sexism in all its forms. Besides, feminists are strongly encouraged to write and to give voice to their personal and individual expressions; and to rigorously challenge the notion that gender is the primary factor in determining women’s fates. In doing so, many feminist writers see the importance of...
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