Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature/Middle East Studies
Languages: English, Spanish, French, Arabic
Teaching interests: My primary teaching interests fall into two categories. The first is world literature: how has it been, and how is it being (re)defined? Does the literary prize economy play as influential role in the world literary market as we often assume? And, how does the translation and circulation of literature happen differently in--and within-- the Global South?
The second category is trauma studies; in addition to foundational and evolving theories of trauma (and healing), my courses ask students to think about how knowledge of trauma is produced in the first place. Can we derive a theory of trauma from its textual representation? How can classical trauma theory avoid the pitfall of refracting other cultural contexts through its own lens?
Finally, I am also interested in critical theory (including postcolonial and globalization theory; psychoanalysis; affect theory) and genre theory (including documentary ethics, autofiction/autotheory).
- “Adapting World Literatures” (CL323) Why, and how, are literary works adapted to produce new meanings, across different periods and cultures? How does the genre and medium of adaptation (e.g. theatre/film/TV, visual arts, graphic novel, video games) influence these meanings? Is there ever truly an "original" text? Upper Level Writing Requirement, with option to produce an adaptation as a final project.
- “Going Global: Trauma and Theory in the World” (CL600) First-year doctoral seminar for students in Comparative Literature. Open to other doctoral candidates by request.
- “Global Narratives of Trauma” (CL300) How is the experience of psychological trauma expressed in narrative forms? How (and why) have Western European and US theories of trauma become “global”? This course helps student develop a comparative approach to thinking through trauma, the forces that cause it, its representations, and the structures that mediate them.
Research interests: My current research project is a literary and cultural studies project at the nexus of politics, psychology, and narrative. I am at work on a book about narratives of atrocity during and after the 1975-1990 civil wars in Lebanon. Lebanon's postwar decades have been characterized by an official amnesty, censorship, taboos, social fatigue, and new waves of disaster; still, writers and visual artists from Lebanon and its diaspora continue to produce content about the wars and their legacy. My book argues that atrocity (a topic usually studied by political scientists), and particularly narrative accounts of atrocity, provides insight into the impact of these wars on the notion of "belonging," explaining in part the staying power of discourse on, about, and informed by the wars. For a tiny country whose mixed populace has been governed by social codes as much as, if not more than, state policy, and which today hosts millions of refugees, the belonging--and how it is discussed--remains more topical than ever.
Separately, I am also working on a project exploring the relevance of "moral injury" (a term coined by psychologist Johnathan Shay in an American military context) to contexts outside of the United States.
- “Irresolute: Revisiting Archival Aesthetics in Post-War Lebanese Art” (forthcoming with Cultural Critique, 2022)
- “No Guilt, No Shame: Discerning Signs of Post-Conflict Moral Injury in Atmospheres of Political Impunity,” Journal for Veterans Studies, 6.1 (April 2020)
- “Contemporary Epistemologies of Militarization in the Global South: Palimpsests and accumulative processes in Lampedusa and Lebanon,” Special Issue of Cultural Dynamics, 31.4 (September 2019)