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Rawan Althunyan

Research Postgraduate

Research Postgraduate in the Department of English Studies


I am a PhD student (2020- present) working on the notion of silence in regard to gender, race and language in selected Saudi and Nigerian novels. My thesis aims at investigating the notion of silence as a discourse operating within and around literary texts both shaping and shaped by power relations in the literary enterprise. As my thesis examines silence and its discourse within two different cultures, it comprises a transcultural approach, which is sensitive to cultural differences as well as similarities allowing for a more comprehensive view of silence in the two literary contexts. My selected novelists of the Saudi context include Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, Ahmed Abodehman, Raja Alem and Badryah El-Bishr. My selected Nigerian novelists include Helon Habila, Chimamanda Adichie, Jude Dibia, Chris Abani, Promise Okekwe and Seffi Atta. Since I work with silence as an intricate part of language and communication, my thesis will trace issues of translation as some of my selected texts are translations from Arabic to English. I am supervised by Dr. Maryam Mirza and Dr. Jennifer Terry.

Before my PhD, I received my BA in English Language and Literature from IMSIU, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2011, and my MA in Literary Studies from the same institution in 2013, both with First Class Honours. My MA dissertation tackled the literature of the fin de siècle particularly the aesthetics of Oscar Wild in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Before coming to Durham, I gained experience in academic teaching. I have taught undergraduate courses on Academic writing, undergraduate modules on Romantic and Victorian Poetry, Modern Poetry, Introduction to Literature, and a module on Postcolonial novel which focuses on the Nigerian novel in particular.

I welcome any enquiries about my research.


Twitter: @AlthunyanRawan

Research interests

  • My other research interests include: critical theory, philosophy and literature, gender studies, Modern and Postmodern, postcolonialism and post-coloniality, emotions, theories of space and world-building, feminine narratology and world literature.