The essays collected in this issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East explore the ways in which writers and artists from Africa and the Middle East have deployed diverse genres and modes of narrative or discursive practices in order not only to challenge the entrapments of contemporary violence but also to do so in a self-reflexively anti-redemptory fashion. They conceptualize narrative violence as a modality of cultural and literary analysis, practice and critique; understand violence as a historically situated phenomenon in constant need of social, political, and cultural authorization and reinvention to be effectively implemented at the level of warfare, mobilization, and conscription; and illuminate the ways in which literary and cultural products (literature, film, graphics, etc.) not merely illustrate but actively produce and intervene into the material and palpable workings of violence. As such, the essays in this issue compel us into interrogating the widely circulated discourses about Africa and the Middle East as ahistorical places of violence, death, and disease; question our fatigued notions of the ineluctability and immutability of the contemporary institutionalization of violence; and demonstrate how particular constellations of (corporate) power, (instrumental) knowledge, and (biased) mass media work to foreclose alternative human and humane spaces of survival, agency, resistance, and, above all, narrative departures.

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