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
Michael Allan is editor of Comparative Literature and associate professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is affiliated with Cinema Studies, Arabic, Middle East Studies, New Media and Culture, African Studies, and Comics Studies. His research focuses on debates in world literature, postcolonial studies, literary theory, as well as film and visual culture, primarily in Africa and the Middle East. In both his research and teaching, he bridges textual analysis with social theory, and draws from methods in anthropology, religion, queer theory and area studies. He is the author of In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton 2016, Co-Winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book), and is at work on a second book, Picturing the World: The Global Routes of Early Cinema, 1896-1903, which traces the transnational history of camera operators working for the Lumière Brothers film company. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of World Literature, Philological Encounters, Syndicate Lit, and Middle East Topics & Arguments. He was elected a member of the executive committee for LLC Arabic (2017-2021) and a delegate of Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Comparative Literature (2019-2021) for the Modern Language Association. He was a EUME Fellow at the Forum for Transregional Studies in Berlin (2011-12, 2017-2018), a Townsend Fellow at the Townsend Center for the Humanities in Berkeley (2006-7), and a Presidential Intern at the American University in Cairo, where he worked with its Institute of Gender and Women’s Studies (2000-1). For two summers (2011-12), he was the site director for the CLS Arabic Program in Tangier, Morocco.
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.
Ethnic American Literature, Arab American Literature, Palestinian and Diasporic Palestinian Literature, Arabic Literature, Middle Eastern Politics, Creative Writing, and Academic Reading and Writing
Dale J. Correa, PhD, is the Middle Eastern Studies Librarian and History Coordinator for the University of Texas Libraries, the University of Texas at Austin. She serves as the liaison to the Department of History, the Department and Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Islamic Studies Program. Dr. Correa specializes in Islamic legal theory, theology, philosophy, and Qur’anic studies, with a particular interest in the intellectual tradition of the eastern regions of the Islamicate empire (namely, Transoxania, which is today in Uzbekistan/Tajikistan). Her research, although rooted in the 10th-12th centuries CE, extends to contemporary conceptions of what it means to be Muslim, particularly in Eurasia. Her current book project examines the development and flourishing of the Transoxanian approach to testimony, or communication: that is, the transmission of knowledge of a past event by agents over time and space. This study brings together Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic legal theory, and Islamic theology with contemporary approaches to epistemology, philosophy of language and the mind, and logic to examine the consequences of positing epistemology as a confessional boundary.
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.