I study the literary and cultural formations of identity in the modern Arab Middle East (19thC – present), with a focus on Lebanon. My research is situated at the intersection of literary and cultural studies, critical geography and urban studies, history, and gender studies.
I studied from 2004–2011 Social Anthropology and Middle East Studies at the University of Leipzig. With my first travels to Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, I set my research focus on the Levant region within the Arab Middle East. From 2008–2012 I worked for the German state-funded Collaborative Research Center CRC 586 „Difference and Integration“ at the universities of Leipzig and Halle/Lutherstadt Wittenberg where I conducted my first ethnographic research about Bedouin representations in Syrian television dramas and Arab media discourses about authenticity. Since 2014 I am working as a doctoral researcher at the Research Lab “Transformations of Life” at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne. My actual PhD-research project is about the breeding, standardization and circulation of Arabian purebred horses with an ethnographic focus on Egypt and Arab actors within the global breeding industry.
Interested in 19th and 20th century intellectual, literary, and visual culture of the Middle East; the history of photography; issues of Islamophobia and racism; “cultural theory,” in particular structuralism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and Marxism.Member of Executive Committee, Arabic Division
Member of Executive Committee, West Asia Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Discussion Group
Pauline Homsi Vinson, PhD, teaches English literature and composition at Diablo Valley College. Previously, she has taught at various universities in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Her research interests include Arab and Arab American Literature, Arab women’s movements, gender, sexuality, mobility, diaspora, and hybridity studies as well as English Renaissance drama and college writing. Co-founder of the Arab American Studies Association (AASA), she has also published articles on Arab and Arab-American writers in edited volumes and in such journals as NWSAJ. Her translations of short fiction and prose essays from Arabic to English have appeared in Al Jadid. Currently, she is completing a manuscript project titled “Re-orienting Arab-American Writing: Storytelling, Cultural Mobility, and Subversive Appropriations of the One Thousand and One Nights.”
Levi Thompson holds a BA in History and Government from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where he grew up in the Appalachian Mountains. He has an MA in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Arabic Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles. His dissertation, Speaking Laterally: Transnational Poetics and the Rise of Modern Arabic and Persian Poetry in Iraq and Iran (https://escholarship.org/uc/item/3bq9v3sc), brings together the theoretical richness of Comparative Literature and the philological rigor of Area Studies to critically investigate the development of literary modernism in the Middle East. After completing his PhD in 2017, Levi was the Artemis A.W. and Martha Joukowsky Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender Studies at the Pembroke Center at Brown University, where he was a member of the Pembroke Seminar organized on the topic “The Cultures of Pacifism.” While at Brown, he transformed a dissertation chapter into the forthcoming article “An Iraqi Poet and the Peace Partisans: Transnational Pacifism and the Poetry of Badr Shākir al-Sayyāb,” to appear in College Literature. He is currently working on several projects, including a book manuscript tentatively titled Re-Orienting Modernism: East-East Poetic Exchange in Arabic and Persian, a book chapter about the Iranian leftist poet Aḥmad Shāmlū for a collection on Persian literature as world literature, and translations of poetry and prose by the Syro-Palestinian poet Ramy al-Asheq, among others. Levi teaches courses covering modern Middle Eastern literature, cinema, and culture more broadly, with a focus on the Arabic- and Persian-speaking worlds during the twentieth century. While studying Arabic in Cairo during the 2011 uprising, Levi co-founded Tahrir Documents, a digital archive of paper ephemera distributed by protestors in Tahrir Square which a group of volunteers collected, translated into English, and made available online.
Stacy Fahrenthold is a historian of the Middle East, with research specializations on modern Syria and Lebanon, migration, displacement, and the First World War in the Ottoman Empire. She received her Ph.D. from Northeastern University in 2014 and is now an assistant professor of migration history at University of California, Davis.
Ethnic American Literature, Arab American Literature, Palestinian and Diasporic Palestinian Literature, Arabic Literature, Middle Eastern Politics, Creative Writing, and Academic Reading and Writing
Veli N. Yashin is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He holds a PhD in Arabic and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and he is the winner of the 2013 Horst Frenz Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association. Yashin’s work focuses on modern Arabic and Turkish literatures and more broadly engages the theoretical implications of the complex entanglement between cultural and political representation. His current book project, tentatively titled Disorienting Figures: The Rhetoric of Sovereignty between the Arab and the Turk, argues for the disorienting force of new techniques of writing and reading in the emergence of literary modernity in Arabic and Turkish and the transformations of Ottoman sovereignty in its long-nineteenth century. Bringing together examples of fiction, poetry, drama, travelogue, literary history and criticism, political edicts and commentary published in Arabic and Turkish, Disorienting Figures analyzes emergent conceptualizations of literary and authorial authority in tandem with critical reconsiderations of Ottoman sovereignty. Through its comparative historical and theoretical frame, this project uncovers an hitherto unstudied archive around questions of authority and representation to argue for the entanglement of the rhetorical figuration of the sovereign with the political reconfiguration of the author. In doing so, Disorienting Figures not only shows the fundamental role of literature in the making of modern politics in the Ottoman Empire, but also reveals obscured currents of cultural and political exchange between Arabic and Turkish in light of a shared Ottoman past—a past whose unsettled legacies still inform issues of cultural and political representation in the Middle East today. Yashin’s research and teaching interests include the post-Ottoman world; the relationship between area studies and literary scholarship; conceptions of authority and sovereignty; legacies of German romanticism; histories and future(s) of philology; and Mediterranean studies.
Narrative, Visual Culture, Visuality, Sexual Identity, Gender Studies, Arabic Literature, African American Literature, Race Studies, Urban Studies, Modernity