Associate Professor and Director, World Literature Program
Galleria 5 – 5186
250 – 13450 102 Avenue
Surrey, BC V3T 0A3
I am researching a book-length project on the cultural representation of ruins as nodes of memory in modern world literature. This book will extend the scope of study of Standing by the Ruins (see below) by developing the contemporary understandings of humanism beyond European and Arab frames. An overlapping project is the study of the role of cultural representations in the 2011 “Arab Spring” movements. A third area of interest consists of literary translations from Arabic to English. Finally, in January 2012 I was invited to serve as General Editor of the four-volume Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature.
- Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor: December 1995.
- B.A., English Literature, Michigan State University, East Lansing: 1982.
- B.S., Biology/Zoology, Michigan State University, East Lansing: 1982.
Research and Teaching Interests
Modern British, Arabic and French fiction; history of humanist thought; narratology; critical theory; colonial and postcolonial studies; film and cultural studies; war and culture in modern literature.
Standing by the Ruins: Elegiac Humanism in Wartime and Postwar Lebanon. New York: Fordham University Press, (August 2011). 247 pp. Argues for the emergence of a distinctive aesthetic in contemporary Lebanese fiction, film and popular culture from the twin legacies of commitment literature and the ancient topos of “stopping by the ruins.” http://www.fordhampress.com/detail.html?session=121da831d1ac78e1fc2812de85c26318&id=9780823234837
Crisis and Memory: The Representation of Space in Modern Levantine Narrative. Ed. Ken Seigneurie. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2003. 259 pp. Examines the narrativizations of political crises in twentieth-century Arabic and Hebrew literatures. In English and French. http://www.uni-marburg.de/cnms/arabistik/forschung/litkon
Selected Articles and Book Chapters
“Discourses of the 2011 Arab Revolutions.” Journal of Arabic Literature 43.2-3 (2013).
“Irony and Counter-Irony in Rashid al-Daif’s How The German Came to His Senses.” College Literature, 37.1 (2010). 38-60.
“The Wrench and the Ratchet: Cultural Mediation in a Contemporary Liberation Struggle” Public Culture, 21.2 (2009). 377-402.
“Anointing with Rubble: Ruins in the Lebanese War Novel.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. 28.1 (2008): 50-60.
“Ongoing War and Arab Humanism.” Geomodernisms: “Race,” Modernism, Modernity, eds. Laura Doyle and Laura Winkiel. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2005. 96-113.
“Sweeping The Alexandria Quartet out of a Dusty Corner.” Deus Loci. (2003-2005). 82-110.
“Decolonizing the British: Deflections of Desire in The Alexandria Quartet.” South Atlantic Review. 69: 1 (Winter 2004): 85-108.
“The Importance of Being Kawabata: The Narratee in Today’s Literature of Commitment.” JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. 34:1 (Winter 2004): 54-73.
“Introduction: A Survival Aesthetic for Ongoing War.” Crisis and Memory, ed. Ken Seigneurie. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2003. 11-32.
“The Everyday World of War in Hassan Daoud’s House of Mathilde.” Crisis and Memory, ed. Ken Seigneurie. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2003. 101-14.
“The Flickering Light of Literature: 8–18 February 2000.” Profession 2000. Modern Language Association, 2000. 46-53.
(from Arabic) ‘Awdat al-almani ila rushdih by Rashid al-Daif (Beirut: Riad El-Rayyes, 2006). Translated as “How the German Came to His Senses” 92 mss pp.
(from French) numerous free-lance articles on art and art history for Flammarion publishers, Paris (1983-1988)
Selected Conference Papers and Lectures
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, January 2013, “Discourses of Uprising” (paper)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, January 2011, “The Logic of Redemptive Self-Sacrifice in Contemporary Lebanon” (paper)
American Comparative Literature Association, April 2010, “Trauma and Nostalgia in Lebanese Film” (paper)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, December 2009, “The Modernization of Topoi in the Lebanese Novel” (paper and convener of panel)
American Comparative Literature Association, March 2009, “An Aesthetic of War Ruins: History and Humanism in the Lebanese Arabic Novel” (paper)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, December 2008, “Worldly War Literature: The Case of Lebanon” (paper and convener of panel)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, December 2007, “‘Standing by the Ruins’ in Lebanese War Film” (paper and convener of panel)
Middle East Studies Association Annual Convention, November 2007, “Homosexuality in Rashid al-Daif’s ‘Awdat al-almani ila rushdih (The German Comes Back to His Senses)” (paper)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, December 2006, “Chiasmus on Masculinity in Rashid al-Daif’s The German Comes Back to His Senses” (paper and convener of panel). Reprinted in www.peuplesmonde.com/article and www.navidkermani.de/media/raw/Rezensionen_Diwan_Engl.pdf
Comparative Literature Lecture Series, April 2006, “Anointing with Rubble: Atlal in the Lebanese War Novel” Lebanese American University (paper)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, December 2005, “The Lebanese War Novel and Humanist Renewal” (paper)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, December 2005, “Fajanaakun! Moo? (We Surprised You! Didn’t We?)” (paper)
Modernist Studies Association, October 2004, “The British in Egypt: D.J. Enright and the Solution of Irresolution” (paper)
Conference on Violence in the Middle East, May 2004, “Arab Humanism in a Time of Ongoing War” Lebanese American University, (paper and conference organizer)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, December 2003, “A Survival Aesthetic for Ongoing War” (paper)
International Society for the Study of European Ideas, 2002. “Olivia Manning and Post-War Apocalypse” (paper and convener of panel)
Modern Language Association Annual Convention, December 2001, “The Unassuming Agon in Anglo-Egyptian Fiction” (paper and convener of panel)
American Comparative Literature Association, 2001, “Social Space as a Critical Category in Late Colonial British Fiction” (paper and seminar organizer)
Society for the Study of Narrative Literature, 2000, “The Importance of Being Kawabata: The Role of the Narratee in Rachid al-Daif’s Dear Mr. Kawabata” (paper)
Conference on Contemporary Arabic Literature, Lebanese American University, Beirut, 1999. “The New Martyr in Rachid al-Daif’s Dear Mr. Kawabata” (paper)
Comparative Literature Symposium, Texas Tech University, 1999. “Space, Narrative and Consciousness in Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet” (paper)
Selected Keynotes, Invited Papers and Respondents
“Literariness and World Literature.” The German Orient Institute of Beirut. December 2012.
“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.
“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.
“From Martyrdom to Civic Consciousness in Lebanon and the Middle East Today.” Simon Fraser University – Harbour Centre. Sponsored by the SFU Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures, the World Lebanese Cultural Union and the SFU Program in World Literature. January 2012 (evening lecture).
“Why the Arab Spring Is Succeeding and Occupy Wall Street Is Waning: A Culture-Based Approach.” Univesité Saint-Joseph, Centre d’Etudes pour le Monde Arabe Moderne (CEMAM). Beirut, Lebanon, December 2011.
“The Languages of Liberation in Lebanon and in the Arab Spring.” The Orient Institute of Beirut. December 2011.
“Elegiac Humanism in Wartime and Postwar Lebanese Culture.” Teaching Arab Intellectual Thought and the Changing Role of the Literati, Columbia University, New York, NY, May 2011 (invited lecture) http://www.mei.columbia.edu/arablit.shtml
Annual Conference of the Modernist Studies Association. Victoria, British Columbia, November 2010 (keynote panelist) http://msa.press.jhu.edu/conferences/msa12/speakers.html
“The Work of Nostalgia in Lebanese Film.”The Orient Institute of Beirut, June 2010. (invited lecture) http://www.orient-institut.org/English/EventsDetails.aspx?pageid=1716
Conference on Collecting Practices in Lebanon: Alternative Visions of the Past. American University of Beirut, May 2008 (invited panel chair and respondent)
Conference on Liberty and Justice: America and the Middle East. American University of Beirut, January 2008 (invited panel chair and respondent)
Previous Academic Positions
- 2005-2009 Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Lebanese American University, Beirut
- 2005-2006 Sabbatical year
- 2003-2005 Chair, Division of Humanities (renamed “Department of Humanities” in 2007-08), Lebanese American University, Beirut
- 1999-2005 Assistant Professor, Lebanese American University, Beirut, English Department and, from Fall 2001, Program in Comparative Literature
- 1997-1999 Chair, English Department, University of Balamand, Tripoli, Lebanon
- 1997 Visiting Assistant Professor, Université Saint-Joseph, “Université Pour Tous,” Beirut, Comparative Literature (in French), Fall
- 1998 Visiting Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature and Translation (in English), Université Saint-Joseph, Beirut, Spring
- 1996-1999 Assistant Professor, University of Balamand, Tripoli, Lebanon, English Department and, from Fall 1997, Program in Comparative Literature
- 1995-1996 Adjunct Lecturer, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Great Books Program
Simon Fraser University – Surrey (2010– ), B.A. Level
- World Literature 403: After Modernities
- World Literature 401: Early Modernities
- World Literature 308: Imperial Cultures
- World Literature 300: How Theory Travels
- World Literature 204: Human Rights Literature
- World Literature 100: Introduction to World Literature
Lebanese American University – Beirut (1999-2009), B.A. Level
- English 102: Freshman Composition (x4)
- English 202: Sophomore Rhetoric (x10)
- English 311: Literature and Society: Fiction and Film
- English 312: Poetry (survey) (x2)
- English 313: Forms and Modes: “Colonial and Postcolonial Literatures”
- English 313: Forms and Modes: “Representations of Gender in the Late Twentieth-Century Novel”
- English 315: Twentieth Century Novel in English
- English 321: Creative Writing (x5)
- English 345: Twentieth Century British Novel
- English 348: Postcolonial Literature
- English 473: Literature and Culture: “What Is ‘Lebanon’?”
- Cultural Studies 202: The Renaissance and Enlightenment (x6)
Lebanese American University – Beirut (2002– ), M.A. Level
- CompLit 803: Literary Theory I (Plato to Kant) (x4)
- CompLit 804: Literary Theory II (19th and 20th centuries) (x4)
- CompLit 820: Period: Modernism (Baudelaire to Lowry)
- CompLit 820: Period: The 1950s: Crux of a Century in Anglophone Fiction and Film
- CompLit 830: Themes: “Humanism and Imperialism”
- CompLit 880: Seminar: “Humanism and Intercultural Encounter”
Université Saint-Joseph – Beirut (1997-1998)
- “La Littérature Comparée: Marguerite Duras, Out el-Kouloub, Lawrence Durrell” (in French): “Université Pour Tous” Program, Fall
- “Comparative Literature and Translation Studies” for fifth-year translation students: Translation Department, Spring
University of Balamand – Tripoli (1996 – 1999), B.A. Level
- English 211: Advanced Academic Writing
- English 244: 19th Century British Novel
- English 245: 20th Century British Novel (x2)
- English 251: Survey of American Literature I
- English 252: Survey of American Literature II
- English 255: Major American Authors (Faulkner and Morrison)
- English 265: Tone and Style Analysis
- English 267: Literary Criticism and Theory
University of Balamand – Tripoli (1996 – 1999), M.A. Level
- CompLit 311: Literary Theory and Methods (x2)
- CompLit 325: History of Literary Theory and Criticism II
- CompLit 330: Seminar: Myth and Modernism
- CompLit 350: Seminar: Narrative Theories of Fiction and Film
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (1989-1996)
- Great Books 191: Homer to Plato (taught as adjunct lecturer, 1995-1996; as Teaching Assistant, 1991-1995) (x8)
- Great Books 191: Plato to Dante (taught as adjunct lecturer, 1995-1996; as Teaching Assistant, 1991-1995) (x8)
- French 101: French I (x2)
- French 102: French II (x2)
- French 103: Intensive First-year French (x4)
Selected Professional Activities
Conference Committee Chair: American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, April 2011
Peer Reviewer: Peer reviewer for seven journals and anthologies in Arabic, French, Comparative and World Literatures
Executive Committee of the Division on Arabic Literature and Culture, Modern Language Association: Member, 2009-10; Secretary 2011; Chair, 2012
Conference Co-organizer: “Violence in the Middle East,” Lebanese American University, Beirut, May 2004
Simon Fraser University (2009–)
- As Director of WL, co-sponsored with Vancouver International Writers Festival campus visits by the writers Denise Chong and Kamila Shamsie, Fall 2010
- As Director of WL, co-sponsored with Univ. of Brit. Columbia Dept. of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies (FHIS) the Medieval Studies Workshop, Fall 2010
- As Director of WL, co-sponsored with the Univ. of Victoria and others the Modernist Studies Association Annual Meeting, Fall 2010
- As Director of WL, co-sponsored with the Institute for the Humanities the campus visit by the noted translator Sherry Simon, Fall 2010
- Drafted the World Literature “South Asia Initiative,” Fall 2010, a blueprint for the founding of an endowed chair in South Asian Literary Studies at SFU – Surrey
- Co-organized in conjunction with the Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures the campus visit and lecture of Juan Cole, April 2010
- Affiliated faculty member of the SFU Centre for the Comparative Study of Muslim Societies and Cultures
- As Director of WL, co-sponsored with the SFU Dept. of English the campus visit by Fredric Jameson, April 2010
- Serve on Faculty committees (DAC, FASSCC, Chairs and Directors), chair World Literature Program committees (Steering, TPC, American Comparative Literature Association 2011 Annual Meeting Conference Committee), 2009—
- Recruitment/community outreach lectures (Global Village 3x, PDP 1x, BCTELA 1x, SFU – Surrey Open House 2x), 2009—
- Faculty Advisor for the World Literature student magazine, The Lyre, 2009—
Lebanese American University – Beirut (1999-2009)
- Chaired the Division of Humanities: Responsible for scheduling, budgeting, and academic coordination of 30 full-time and 40 part-time instructors in six departments: English, Arabic, History, Philosophy, Women’s Studies, and the Liberal Core sequence known as “Cultural Studies,” 2003-2005.
- Co-organized the Division of Humanities’s “Distinguished Lecturer Series,” inviting Gayatri Spivak, Djelal Kadir, George Saliba, 2004-2005.
- Drafted a new undergraduate English Literature and Language curriculum, 2004-2005.
- Organized the lecture series, “The Writer in Society,” 2004-2005, inviting Abbas Beydoun, Rashid al-Daif and Joachim Helfer, Hassan Daoud, Iman Hmaydan, 2004-2005.
- Taught two workshops on teaching poetry in high school at the Teacher Training Institute, 2004-2005.
- Taught a workshop on teaching the novel in high school at the Teacher Training Institute, 2005.
- Served on the Academic Excellence Subcommittee of the LAU Strategic Planning effort, 2005.
- Served on the University Research Council, 2004-2005.
- Served on the University Library Council, 1999-2005.
- Co-organized an international conference, “Violence in the Middle East.” May 2004.
- Co-developed a university-wide English-laboratory for weak students, 2004.
- Organized a Brown Bag lecture series for local scholars, 2001.
- Participated in founding the M.A. Program in Comparative Literature, 1999-2002.
University of Balamand – Tripoli, Lebanon (1996 – 1999)
- Chair of the English Department: Responsible for scheduling and academic coordination of 25 instructors of English, 1997-1999.
- Presented a revised undergraduate English curriculum, 1999.
- Served on the editorial board of the university journal, Annals, 1997-1999.
- Founded Lebanon’s first Master’s Program in Comparative Literature, 1996-1997.
- Founded and served as faculty advisor to a student literary-cultural magazine, Fikra, 1996-1999.
Related Work Experience
Free-lance journalist specializing in human rights in Eastern Europe and the Middle East with special emphasis on Czechoslovakia and Lebanon, Paris: 1983–89. Articles in The Nation, The Wall Street Journal – Europe, and other periodicals.
Editor, Help and Action Newsletter, Paris: 1983-1988. Collected and published information on the status of political prisoners and dissidents throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
- Al-Akhbar (Arabic daily), 28 June 2010: Interviewed for article on the lecture, “The Work of Nostalgia in Lebanese Film”
- Al-Safir (Arabic daily), 28 May 2004: Interviewed for article on conference, “Violence in the Middle East.”
- Daily Star (Beirut), 17 March 2004: Interviewed for article on Crisis and Memory.
- An-Nahar (Arabic daily), 3 June 2000: Interview on the contemporary Arabic novel.
- Al-Diyar (Arabic daily), 23 May 1999: Interview on literature and society.
- American Comparative Literature Association
- Modern Language Association:
- Modernist Studies Association
- Middle East Studies Association