Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Modern Languages and Literatures (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Ralph Heyndels

Second Committee Member

Gema Pérez-Sánchez

Third Committee Member

Steven Butterman

Fourth Committee Member

Amanullah De Sondy


This dissertation concentrates on four texts by Maghrebian writers, published between the late 1990s to the 2000s, and explores the ways in which their fictional narratives portray, articulate and challenge the dominant discourse on masculinity in postcolonial North Africa. The four novels are the following: Wolf Dreams (1999) by Yasmina Khadra, Leaving Tangier (2006) by Tahar Ben Jelloun, An Arab Melancholia (2008) by Abdellah Taïa and Le dernier combat du Captain Ni’mat (2011) by Mohamed Leftah. I demonstrate that despite a strong influence of hegemonic models of masculinity promoted and cultivated during and after the decolonization processes, the masculinities presented in these novels radically confront these “ideal” depictions to reach a point of radical disruption for some of them. The masculine subjectivities introduced in these texts unveil a certain anxiety about being a man roughly 50 years after the establishment of nation-states. In fact, all characters navigate local, national and for some transnational spaces and narratives while operating rather radical shifts. Indeed, these four writers implicitly and explicitly denounce the links between power, gender subjectivity and national imaginary. It appears that Maghrebian writers adopt a counter-hegemonic treatment of history. They feel the necessity to write stories that render the subjective experiences of North Africans that are recurrently dismissed or silenced by hegemonic discourse (official and non-official). On the contrary, they bring forward invisible voices that are rarely given a possibility to speak out. In addition, they reveal that masculinity is not just a simple question of male bodies but rather to be thought of as always intersecting with other constructs such as nation, class, race, religion, and sexuality.


postcolonial Maghreb; masculinity; postcolonial literature; terrorism; transnational experiences; queer; sexuality; North Africa; gender; counter-hegemonic masculinity; Islamic masculinity

Available for download on Sunday, August 09, 2020