Edwige Tamalet Talbayev’s work focuses on the intersection of modernity, postcoloniality, and transnationalism in the Maghreb and the Mediterranean contact zone.
Her first book, The Transcontinental Maghreb: Francophone Literature across the Mediterranean, was published by Fordham University Press in 2017. Studying a Mediterranean-inspired body of texts from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Gibraltar in French, Arabic, and Spanish, the book argues for a transmaritime deployment of the Maghreb across Mediterranean sites to which it has been materially and culturally bound for millennia. Through a reflection on allegory and critical melancholia, the book shows how the Mediterranean decenters postcolonial nation-building projects and breathes new life into Maghrebi claims to an inclusive, democratic national ideal yet to be realized. Engaging the space of the sea, the hybridity it produces, and the way it has shaped such historical dynamics as globalization, imperialism, decolonization, and nationalism, The Transcontinental Maghreb rethinks the very nature of postcolonial histories and identities along its shores.
She is the co-editor of the collection Critically Mediterranean: Temporalities, Aesthetics, and Deployments of a Sea in crisis (Palgrave 2018), which probes the critical relevance of the Mediterranean as a theoretical entity and an aesthetic, hermeneutic, and theoretical category for the interpretation of culture in the modern era. Ranging from some of the earliest twentieth-century material on the Mediterranean to Edmond Amran El Maleh, Christoforos Savva, Orhan Pamuk, and Etel Adnan, the essays ask how modern and contemporary Mediterraneans may be deployed in political, cultural, artistic, and literary practice. The critical Mediterranean that emerges is plural and performative—a medium through which subjects may negotiate imagined relations with the world around them in times of crisis. A second ongoing project, “Water Logics,” extends the reflection on the Mediterranean to other maritime contexts across the globe. Turning away from visions of the sea as a setting in which to examine the intersection of the histories of empire and capital, “Water logics” proposes to delve into the materiality of the aqueous as a site of alternative epistemologies and experiences of being. “Water Logics” will be the focus of an international conference to take place at Tulane on April 11-12, 2019.
Talbayev is Editor of Expressions maghrébines, the leading peer-reviewed journal of the Coordination Internationale des Chercheurs sur les Littératures Maghrébines (CICLIM) which has been housed in the Department of French and Italian since 2014. She has also served on the editorial boards of several other journals, including Yale French Studies (2009-2013). In 2016, she was named co-Vice President of the Center for Francophone Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and she has recently joined the International Research Group for Culture and Dialogue at NUI Galway, Ireland. She has lectured widely at various educational and cultural institutions in the U.S., Europe, and North Africa. Prior to coming to Tulane, Talbayev was Assistant Professor of French at Yale University and an affiliate of the Council on Middle Eastern Studies and the Council on African Studies at the MacMillan Center at Yale.