See “Recent Lectures” below for three lectures given in Spring 2018  at the American University of Beirut.  

Photo: Sam Tarling From: http://roadsandkingdoms.com/travel-guide/beirut/

We continue to work on the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature. See this space in mid-2018 for a project description.
Note also: Disregard the blog to this website.

Recent Publications

“The Role of Arabic Literature in World Literature.” Chapter for Teaching Modern Arabic Literature in English Translation. Ed. Michelle Hartman. New York: Modern Language Association, 2018. 21-40.  https://www.mla.org/Publications/Bookstore/Options-for-Teaching/Teaching-Modern-Arabic-Literature-in-Translation

“The Real Problem with World Literature.” Le Comparatisme comme approche critique/Comparative Literature as a Critical Approach. Local et mondial : circulations / Local and Global: Circulations, Tome 5. Ed. Anne Tomiche. Paris : Classiques Garnier, 2017. 73-80.
This short essay focuses on two contemporary Arabic novels, Rabi Jaber’s Berytus: madina taht al-ard (Berytus: City Underground), published in 2005, and Najwa Barakat’s Ya salam, published in 1999 to argue that the critique of World Literature as a homogenizing approach is misplaced.

Review of:
Planetary Modernisms: Provocations on Modernity Across Time by Susan Stanford Friedman. Los Angeles Review of Books. 13 June 2016.



Contains the translation (from Arabic) of Rashid al-Daif's "novelized biography," ‘Awdat al-almaani ila rushdih (Beirut: Riad El-Rayyes, 2006) as “How the German Came to His Senses.”

Contains my translation (from Arabic) of Rashid al-Daif’s novelized biography: “How the German Came to His Senses.”


Institution and Practice of Comparative Literature in Lebanon.” Comparative Literature Studies. 51.3 (2014).

Discourses of the 2011 Arab Revolutions.” Journal of Arabic Literature 43.2-3 (2013): 484-509.


Named an “Outstanding Academic Title” of 2012 by Choice magazine

“Fascinating, eloquent, and tightly argued, Standing by the Ruins offers a distinctive perspective on relations between cultural productions and politics in times of extreme duress.Across a range of fascinating examples, Seigneurie shows the ways in which novelists and filmmakers offer alternative visions in a collapsing world that can set the stage for new ways of imagining the future.”—David Damrosch, Harvard University

“An excellent study of the cultural production of Lebanese society resulting from the period of civil war.”——Roger Allen, University of Pennsylvania

Recent Lectures


“World Literature and the Post-Liberal Norm” Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for American Studies and Research and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs. American University of Beirut. 1 March 2018.  (Invited lecture).

“L’humanisme francophone peut-il exister?” Conference: Quel « nouvel humanisme » francophone contemporain? Université Paris-Sorbonne. 16-18 June 2016. (Invited lecture)

“La Littérature mondiale : L’Esquisse d’un humanisme pour l’ère numérique.” Colloquium: Vers une littérature mondiale à l’heure du numérique? Université Paris – Sorbonne. 30 September – 2 October 2015. (Invited lecture) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Inh6faRNfLM

“Humanities in Today’s University: The Elegiac in Modern Arabic Literature.” Institute for Comparative Literature and Society and Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) and Global Culture Studies. Columbia University, New York, 30 April 2015. (Invited lecture)

“La littérature-monde . . . et encore d’autres mondes.” Conference: Repenser la littérature-monde en français. SFU Department of French and Carleton University Department of French, Vancouver, 28-29 April 2014.

“A Little Adab Will Do: World Literature in Levantine Arab Culture.” American Comparative Literature Association, March 2014,

“Angelika Neuwirth’s Deep Commitment to Modern Levantine Culture.” A one-day symposium in honor of Angelika Neuwirth: “Erudition and Commitment.” Sponsored by the Forum Transregionale Studien: Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe and the Free University of Berlin. Berlin, 7 Dec. 2013

“National and World Literatures: The Changing Roles of Cultural Production in the World Today.” Univesité Saint-Joseph, Centre d’Etudes pour le Monde Arabe Moderne (CEMAM). Beirut, Lebanon, December 2012.

“Literariness and World Literature.”  The Orient Institute of Beirut. December 2012.

“Arabic Literature in World Literature: (Still) Pointing Incredulously at Death.” Keynote Address for the conference: At the Crossroads of Arabic Literature: Arabic Literary Heritage in the Context of World Literature. School of Modern Languages, University of St. Andrews, Scotland. September 2012.


Recent Courses (2015-18)

AMST 375L  / ENGL 309D World Literature: Just the Latest of American Liberalism’s Cultural Arms? at the American University of Beirut, M.A. level

To what extent are liberalism and World Literature imbricated with each other and with American ideology? What is the relationship between non-Western literature and liberalism? Can World Literature deal with non-Western writing in its (non-liberal) specificity? For some, the renewed World Literature paradigm promises  a redemption of liberalism; for others, it conceals a ploy to maintain liberal hegemony. This course will explore the entanglements of world literature and liberalism and the critique of both.

AMST 375 Cultures of Globalization: Exile and Home at the American University of Beirut, M.A. level

Successive waves of globalization throughout the modern period have churned up social and political tumult, forcing mass migrations and exilic conditions as a norm for much of the world’s population. Among its effects, exile transforms “home” from an embodiment of selfhood and belonging into an anxiety-inducing longing for the past, a worry-ridden present, and a future hovering between utopia and horror. In this course we focus on cultural responses to home and exile with particular attention to the Arab and Arab-American experiences. Our aim will be to establish some of the psycho-social lineaments of exile as represented in literature while attending to the broader, civilizational context. Classroom discussion along with texts by Theodor Adorno, Edward Said, Juliane Hammer, Homi Bhabha and Karim Mattar will explore the connections between theory and creative literature.

AMST 275 Literature and Human Rights at the American University of Beirut, B.A. level

“Human Rights” is a discourse, i.e. a realm of language use. Like other discourses – for example, those of business (“The bottom line is . . .”), medicine (“Give me an EKG stat!. . .”), sports (“The score tells all . . .”), religion (“Faith bears fruit . . .”) – the discourse of human rights makes sense only if one is familiar with its network of assumptions, convictions and beliefs, i.e. its ideology. Does this mean that human rights is a “mere” ideology? This course will trace the notion of human rights as it emerges from literary texts around crucial concepts such as “rights,” “equality,” “conscience” and “human dignity.” It will also explore whether the discourse of human rights speaks to the ethical foundations of all human societies.

World Literature 301W – Advanced Composition at Simon Fraser University – Burnaby

In the mid-twentieth century, at the center of the enclosed garden known as the Humanities, from its pedestal suddenly fell humanism. Or rather it was pushed. Some saw it as an ideological delivery system for coercion. Others a code word for politicized atheism. At any rate, off they ran scot-free of the humanist totem. Today, humanism is something of an embarrassment, hovering between unselfconscious do-goodism and blatant speciesism, so most ignore it more or less politely…. Want to know more? See how you can enroll  at: http://www.sfu.ca/worldlit.html


World Literature 304 – Exiles and Emigrés at Simon Fraser University – Burnaby

Exile implies banishment, deportation or homelessness and exiles are prisoners, refugees or outcasts. Sometimes viewed as Byronic or “rakishly romantic” (most often by those who do not suffer it), exile in this course is traumatic. It wreaks spatial, spiritual and psychological alienation — it also sets the die for exceptional responses that transform exile into a source of enlightenment.




Site updated March 2018