Soumaya Boughanmi


Born and raised in Tunisia, I went to l’Ecole Normale Supérieure of Tunis to study English literature. I got my BA in 2009 with a BA thesis entitled “‘Nobler in the Mind’: Intellectual Ascension in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.” I passed the “agrégation” exam in 2010 and taught British history at the University of Tunis for two years. Then I received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue an MA in Comparative and World Literature with a concentration on English and French at San Francisco State University. I graduated in 2014 with an MA thesis entitled “The Exilic Condition in Slow Man and Disparition de la langue Française.”

I have joined TEEME to pursue my research on early modern encounters between Europe, particularly France and England, and the Ottoman Empire. With the purpose of examining dramatic representations of the Islamic Ottoman courts, I will study select English and French plays from the seventeenth century in tandem with archival material I consider as co-text to the literary text. I plan to supplement the analysis of largely one-sided European archives with Arabic and Turkish archival material from the Ottoman Empire in the Mediterranean. My intention behind this process of contextualized reading of the plays is to reflect on traffic in the Mediterranean through an exchange model where discursive power keeps shifting between different sides and results in bilateral influence. In addressing the topic of the representation of Eastern courts in English and French drama with a turn to Eastern sources as well as European ones, I hope to complicate readings of plays featuring the Islamic Turkish court.