“Location, the realtors say. Geography is destiny, respond the historians.” Towards a Poetic of Tout-monde in Migrant Fiction
Nouh Anajjar 9 January 2024

Modern-day wars are no longer fought on the battlefields but on the terrains of culture. This paraphrased quote often attributed to James P. Carse perfectly echoes Samuel Huntington’s popular contention that “the great divisions among humankind and the primary source of conflict in the new world will be primarily cultural.” Therefore, one of the frequently raised questions in humanities and social sciences today is what is the role of writers, linguists, intellectuals, literary theorists, and philosophers in a globalized world that is inexorably tormented and haunted by clashes of civilizations, xenophobia, the rise of populism, and ultranationalist ideologies with their polarizing discourse and exclusionary rhetoric? This is where Michel Foucault’s essay “What is an Author?” (1969) proves to be more than ever indispensable and timely. In this essay, Foucault underscores the role of writers as public intellectuals and figures in the cultural and intellectual sphere. Foucault’s main argument seems to be that writers as agents of cultural productions and social critique should be approached as being the outcome of historical and ideological repositioning and discourse. That is to say, unlike the old tendency to approach writers as objective and socially apathetic and alienated categories, writers should be examined in terms of their place / voice within the discursive formations and power dynamics of their societies. He rightly asserts that “The author’s function is therefore characteristic of the mode of existence, circulation, and functioning of certain discourses within a society.”



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