American University of Beirut

Publication Highlights


New Volume on Syrian Playwright Sa'dallah Wannous from Cambridge University Press​​

A new volume entitled Latin America, al-Andalus and the Arab World: Essays on Cultural Transmission and Artistic Reimaginings, an homage to the celebrated medieval scholar, the late María Rosa Menocal, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. The volume, which is co-funded by CASAR, traces the routes of cultural transmission from the East, through medieval Iberia to Latin America. Contributors include major international scholars from the fields of literature, language, history, translation and theater, including Christina CivantosLuce López-BaraltEmilio Gónzalez Ferrín, Michel SleimanJason Weiss, and Enass Khansa. The book, which is based in part on a conference at AUB in 2018 sponsored by CASAR, will be edited by CASAR director, Robert Myers, who also contributed a chapter. The volume will also serve as the basis of a summer institute in August 2021 funded by the U. S. Department of Education and organized by Susan Douglass, Education Outreach Director at Georgetown's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and sponsored by the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) and the Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) ​​at Georgetown.

Over the years CASAR has provided support for an eclectic and exemplary variety of research in the field of American studies. The books listed below are only a small portion of the research that has been completed by scholars who took part in CASAR's academic life in one form or another, be that by serving as the center's director or as the Edward Said Chair in American studies, or by receiving funding through one of our grant programs. ​


Adam Waterman, Assistant Professor of American Literature and Culture and member of CASAR's internal advisory board, recently published The Corpse In the Kitchen: Enclosure, Extraction, and the Afterlives of the Black Hawk War​. Published by Fordham University Press, this book ​​explores relationships between the dispossession of Indigenous peoples, the enclosure of Indigenous land and extraction of Indigenous resources, and settler colonialism as a technique of racial capitalism. It is currently the #1 bestselling new release in Literary Theory on Amazon and the #4 bestseller in Literary Theory overall:​

Sirene Harb, Associate Professor of American and Comparative Literature and members of CASAR's internal advisory board, published Articulations of Resistance: Transformative Practices in Contemporary Arab-American Poetry, in 2019. Published by Routledge, this book maps an interdisciplinary model of critical inquiry to demonstrate the intimate link and multilayered connections between poetry and resistance. In this study of contemporary Arab-American poetry, Sirène Harb analyzes how resistance, defined as the force challenging the dominant, intervenes in ways of rethinking the local and the global vis-à-vis traditional paradigms of time, space, language and value:​

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Sentence to Hope: A Sa'adallah Wannous Reader​, is published with Yale University Press and it is the first English-language collection of plays and essays by Syrian playwright Sa'dallah Wannous, one of the Arab world's most significant playwrights, writers, and intellectuals of the twentieth century:​​Selections include the groundbreaking 1969 play An Evening's Entertainment for the Fifth of June, a scathing indictment of the duplicity of Arab leaders during the 1967 War, as well as Wannous's most celebrated play, Rituals of Signs and Transformations, a bold treatment of homosexuality, prostitution, clerical corruption, and the quest for female liberation. In addition to his work as a playwright, Wannous, like Brecht, was an astute theatrical and c​ultural critic, and his essays, some of which are included in this volume, offer shrewd diagnoses of the ills plaguing Arab society and the essential role of theater in ameliorating them​.​ The authors of the book, AUB Professor of English and director of CASAR Robert Myers and LAU Associate Professor of Literature Nada Saab, have recently won first prize of the Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation and International Understanding, in the category of translation from Arabic to English. The award, founded in Qatar, is an international prize that aims to enrich the Arabic culture, to honor translators, and acknowledge all who contribute to building bridges between nations and peoples. The book has also been selected as the #1 book of literary translation from Arabic in 2019 by Al Jazeera:​ 

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Following his tenure at CASAR as the Edward Said Chair in American studies, Marwan Kraidy published his investigation into the means and motives of the creative activists who sparked the Arab Uprisings in 2011, The Naked Blogger of Cairo: Creative Insurgency in the Arab World (2016). Published by Harvard University Press, this book goes beyond the conventional thesis that social media platforms were the essential medium of revolution in Egypt, examining the artwork of the revolution in order to argue that there is a yet more immediate medium which crucially propelled the uprising, the human body.

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During his time as the Edward Said Chair in American studies at CASAR, Robert Reid-Pharr worked on his examination of the cultural and political links between black American and Spanish intellectual life from 1889 through the mid-1950's, Archives of Flesh: African America, Spain, and Post-Humanist Critique​ (2016). Published by NYU Press, Archives of Flesh was also funded by a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation and won honorable mention for the William Sanders Scarborough Prize of the Modern Language Association.


Wil​liam Marling's tenure as the Edward Said Chair in American studies was followed by the publication of his 2016 book-length study, Gatekeepers: The Emergence of World Literature and the 1960s, which delves into the logistical, social, and marketplace realities of literary output and the ongoing “world literature debate." Published by Oxford University Press, this book documents the gatekeeping process that determined which books crossed cultural and linguistic barriers to enter into the canon of world literature in the 1960s. 

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​After serving as the Edward Said Chair in American studies and organizing the international conference Sexual Sovereignty: Citizenship, Governmentality, Territory, the acclaimed queer-theorist Jasbir Puar published a provocative book-length study of the sexualized, biopolitical modalities of control that are practiced by the contemporary liberal state. The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability was issued in 2017 by Duke University Press.

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The acclaimed Marxist historian, journalist, and cultural critic Vijay Prashad published his book The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution in 2016, following his tenure as the Edward Said Chair in American Studies. Published with University of California Press, this book is a critical primer of Middle Eastern conflict today, offering a sweeping and concise overview of economic, political, and cultural changes and predictions covering the Middle East from Syria to Saudi Arabia to Turkey.

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While serving as the director of CASAR, Alex Lubin released Geographies of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Political Imaginary (2014) from University of No​rth Carolina Press. A book of transnational cultural history that links together the political thought of African American and Arab freedom-struggles, Geographies of Liberation demonstrates how blacks in American constructed freedom, and subsequently, how Middle Eastern groups drew on African American examples to determine their own political agenda.

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During his time as the director of CASAR, Patrick McGreevy worked extensively on his book Stairway to Empire: Lockport, the Erie Canal and the Shaping of America (2009), which was published by SUNY Press and received the J. B. Jackson prize for exemplary writing about cultural geography that effectively engages lay audiences. 

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Syrine Hout, ​professor of English literature at AUB received several grants from CASAR which aided in completing her book, Postwar Anglophone Lebanese Fiction: Home Matters in the Diaspora (2012), published by Edinburgh University Press. Featuring close-readings of important contemporary Lebanese authors writing in the context of the diaspora and the aftermath of the Lebanese civil war, Hout's book questions and elaborates on the construction and meaning of home in a cultural and literary field marked by exile, displacement, and trauma.

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During their time serving as the center's director and the Edward Said Chair in American studies respectively, Alex Lubin and Marwan Kraidy edited a collection of essays that focuses on the cultural politics of America's involvement with the Middle East and North Africa. American Studies Encounters the Middle East was published by University of North Carolina Press in 2016. 


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