Connecting the Intimate with the Geopolitical in Layla al-Atrash’s “Woman of Five Seasons”

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@ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

This is a headshot of a woman with blonde hair standing outside next to flowers.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Jorn.

Caroline Seymour-Jorn

UW System Fellow (2023-2024)

Professor of Comparative Literature and Global Studies, Department of Global Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Connecting the Intimate with the Geopolitical in Layla al-Atrash’s “Woman of Five Seasons”

This talk will focus on Jordanian novelist Layla al-Atrash and her literary exploration of how colonization, war, and petropolitics impact the personal experiences and selfhood of a Palestinian woman and her husband in the imaginary Arab Gulf State of Barqais.

Caroline Seymour-Jorn is Professor of Comparative Literature and Global Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology (Middle East emphasis) from the University of Chicago. Her research combines anthropological, literary and art critical approaches to examine Arabic literature and art. She is the author Cultural Criticism in Egyptian Women’s Writing: Anthropological and Literary Perspectives (2011) and Creating Spaces of Hope: Young Artists and the New Imagination in Egypt (2021) Her research in Egypt has been supported by two Fulbright grants. Along with co-authors Anna Mansson McGinty and Kristin Sziarto she is currently completing a monograph entitled Muslims in Milwaukee: Places, Identities and Activism, which is a collaboration with Sunni Muslim leaders that explores the basic dimensions of the Milwaukee Muslim community, and describes how Muslims negotiate the racialized landscape of Milwaukee. Her ongoing research in Jordan focuses on the literary strategies and social commentary of three prominent women writers: Zahra `Umar (b. 1938), Leila al- Atrash (b. 1951), and Samiha Khrais (b. 1956). 

*Events currently open only to 2023-24 fellows due to space concerns; please contact IRH at to be added to a cancellation list for in-person events.*