A lecture presented by Dr. Christina Civantos (University of Miami). The 12th century Cordoban philosopher Averroes/Ibn Rushd, in imagined and actual textual travels across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, offers insight into the underpinnings of (un)translatability and tolerance. A comparative analysis of Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “La busca de Averroes” (1947; “Averroes’s Search”) and two short stories from the Arab world that invoke and rewrite the Borges story, reveals the relationship between al-Andalus, attitudes toward cultural translatability, and conceptions of intercultural harmony. Moroccan Abdelfattah Kilito’s “Du balcon d’Averroès” (“Concerning Averroes’s Balcony”; 2007) and Iraqi Jabbar Yassin Hussin’s “Yawm Bwinus Ayris” (“The Buenos Aires Day”; 2000), rework elements of Borges’s text in order to offer critiques of postcolonial language and identity politics and rigid, rational epistemologies. Moreover, the dialogue between the three works points to the potential for intercultural communication and the ways in which al-Andalus, often cited as a model of tolerance, can help us dismantle ideological narratives of identity and create more equitable, lasting tolerance.
The event will take place on Monday, October 28 @ 5:30 PM in the Jaffe Center (Wimberly Library, 3rd Floor East). Light refreshments to follow.