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
I am the Visual Resources Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture with the Harvard Fine Arts Library. I am also a scholar of medieval Arabic popular literature. My dissertation (completed 2018) is entitled, “Wives, Witches, and Warriors: Women in Medieval Arabic Epic.”
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.”
I am the Assistant Professor of the History of the Islamic World in the Department of History and Geography at Columbus State University. Additionally, I serve as the Graduate Program Coordinator for our MA in History and as the CSU Honors College Faculty-in-Residence. In research, I am an early Islamic historian who focuses on Arabic historiography and the foundational period of Islamic history – particularly the early Islamic conquests and the depictions of the early Islamic state in history and literature. Much of my work has focused on the writing of the Muslim historian al-Baladhuri (d. ca. 279 AH/892 CE), where I have looked at unique information held in his book, identified the spread of historical information between him and both earlier/later authors, and have used the tools of the digital and computational humanities to identify text reuse in/of his surviving texts. This includes my recent monograph, Arab Conquests and Early Islamic Historiography. Much of my research is focused on two separate-but-somewhat linked topics: I am very interested in the process of settlement throughout the Middle East which occurred during the period of the Arab-Islamic conquests and the reign of the Umayyad dynasty, but I am also very interested in how later ‘Abbasid-era sources reflected on and remembered this process. As a professor, I teach introductory courses on early world history, historical research and writing, and the digital humanities, while teaching advanced seminars and graduate courses on the Arab-Islamic conquests, the early Islamic period, late antiquity and the fall of Rome, the Crusades, and the idea of an Islamic state from the pre-modern period to the present day.
In my PhD thesis, On Modernism’s Edge: An Intellectual History of Palestinians After 1948, I offer a comprehensive historical study of critical and modernist thought in the Eastern Mediterranean during the two decades following the Second World War into the Six-Day War of 1967 between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Through a focus on Palestinian thought and its (Arab) discontents, On Modernism’s Edge undercuts historical treatments constricting Palestinian politics to armed rebellion or those cohering the diversity of Palestinian culture under tropes of resistance (muqawamah) and resilience (sumud). My research received generous support from institutions in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Over a period of twenty-months, I visited official and unofficial archival sites in Beirut and Amman and interviewed some of the foremost Palestinian and Arab intellectuals.
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.