Paper Presentation at the 2017 World Literature Student Conference

Jane will be presenting a paper titled “Harun’s Language: Becoming and Murdering the Outsider” at the 2017 World Literature Student Conference on April 5th, 2017 at Simon Fraser University.

The presentation will discuss Kamel Daoud’s novel, The Meursault Investigation, as a vibrant palimpsest that calls into being a new, fluid language with which to theorize the future beyond the post-colonial in Algeria. The Meursault Investigation is a dramatic monologue by Harun, an Algerian man as much a stranger today as the character of Mersault in Albert Camus’ The Outsider was in 1942. Both colonial and post-colonial subjectivities require the construction of the Other in language, ensnaring both the colonizer and the colonized in a semiotic problem as history unfolds around the indeterminate process of “decolonization.” The presentation will investigate the ways in which Daoud troubles the outsider’s subjectivity in Algeria with flowing language that threatens to swallow up Camus’ famous “islands” of words. Harun’s story is an unstoppable flood of narrative that subsumes truth and fantasy, fact and fiction, and insider and outsider into a palimpsest that heralds the future beyond the post-colonial. The presentation will juxtapose Camus’ and Daoud’s texts to challenge the narratives of progress that riddle our discussions of the post-colonial situation. By taking up questions about the possibilities of cross-cultural dialogues and reconciliation projects, the presentation imagines a future in which our subjectivities are also palimpsestic, resisting reductive, essentialist, and empty nationalisms.

More information about the conference is available here: