Gendering the West: Cultural Anxiety in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North
Tayeb Salih’s 1966 novel Season of Migration to the North narrates the story of a Western-educated Sudanese man and his sexual relationships with several Western women of whom he ultimately kills one. This paper proposes to discuss how the novel conceptualizes the South-North/East-West conflict through the realm of sexuality and how this conceptualization reflects cultural anxiety. The novel’s gendered discourse is originated from a prevailing pattern of the earlier Middle Eastern fiction and although it has largely been discussed in postcolonial context, Salih’s work provides a broader ground to explore cultural encounters between the Orient and the Occident. With reference to Foucault’s distinction between scientia sexualis and ars erotica, I discuss the essential difference between Western and Eastern treatments of sex. After examining gender prototypes in the novel and analyzing the protagonist’s perception of the West through sexual symbolism, I explore how gender representations are linked to the notion of anxiety.