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Susanne Abou Ghaida

Susanne Abou Ghaida has a PhD in Education from the University of Glasgow, and her doctoral research was on constructions of adolescence in Arabic adolescent literature. She specializes in Arabic children's and adolescent literature. She is the Vice President of the Young Adult Studies Association and an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Young Adult Literature. Her current research is on the Al-Shayateen Al-13 (The 13 Devils), the Arab espionage fiction series for adolescents published between 1974 and 2008. 

Host University: Aix Marseille University, France
Host research group or department: The Institute of Research and Study on the Arab and Islamic Worlds - IREMAM
Co-host University: University of Glasgow, UK
Secondment institution: To be defined
Advisor: Professor Richard Jacquemond
Co-advisor: Professor Evelyn Arizpe
Secondment mentor: To be defined

Susanne Abou Ghaida
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My research

Nationalism, Youthful Spies and the Passage of Time: A Critical Exploration of the Al-Shayaateen Al-13 [The Thirteen Devils] Arab espionage series for adolescents and its reception

This research examines an Arab espionage series for adolescents, Al-Shayaateen Al-13 or The Thirteen Devils series written by Egyptian author Mahmoud Salem (1931-2013) and published on a monthly basis almost continuously from 1974 to 2008 (Dar Al-Quds, Cairo/Beirut & Dar Al-Hilaal, Cairo). It centred on a spy agency comprised of thirteen agents, including four female agents, each from a different Arab country. They work together 'to face the conspiracies against the Arab Nation', revealing the Arab nationalist framing of the series. Al-Shayaateen Al-13 was highly popular and widely read across the Arab region and continues to have an engaged on-line fanbase composed mainly of the now middle-aged original readers of the series. Despite being an important publishing phenomenon, it has barely been researched. The current project adopts a comprehensive approach to the series and is concerned with 1) the textual and iconographic content, formal features and ideologies within the series; 2) the history of its creation, publication, and distribution and 3) its reception by original fans of the series and young people today. My approach embraces the ‘out-of-datedness’ of the series and its ideologies, making use of the disconnect with the past as well as the various ways the series has tried to accommodate external developments in the decades during which it was published to shed light on the changes that the world and the Arab region has undergone in this period. These include shifts in ideologies of adolescence as well as nationalism; political events that reshaped the region; globalisation, and changes in patterns of cultural consumption with the information revolution.

Date started – Date End

09.01.2023 - 08.01.2025