Associate Professor
New West 121

Chair, Department of Asian Studies
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Associate Editor for Film and Theater, Review of Middle East Studies
Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies
Editorial Collective Member
Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication Advisory Board Member


My research has treated Arab cultural texts ranging from medieval literature and contemporary oral poetry to modern prose fiction and visual culture. Most recently I have focused on Palestinian literature and visual culture. My current work has focused on two distinct areas: 1. Palestinian cinema and 2. women and transgression in the Arab World. I am currently completing a study of Palestinian cinema of the 1970s titled Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution. I am also coediting the volume Bad Girls of the Arab World with Dr. Rula Quawas from the University of Jordan.


Institute for the Arts and Humanities Faculty Fellow (2004, 2016)
Institute for the Arts and Humanities Academic Leadership Fellow (2013)
Carolina Women’s Center Faculty Scholar (2013)
American Council of Learned Societies/National Endowment for the Arts/Social Science Research Council Fellow (2009-10)
UNC James Moeser Award for Distinguished Research (2008)
Social Science Research Council Fellow (1995)
Center for Arabic Studies Abroad Fellow (1991-92)
Fulbright Fellow, 1986-87 (Syria), 1991-92 (Egypt)


ASIA 64: First-Year Seminar: Arab World Photography
ASIA 691H: Senior Honors Thesis I
ARAB 151: Arabic Literature through the Ages
ARAB 337: Borders and Walls in the Arab World
ARAB 338: Borders and Walls in the Arab World–Experiential
ARAB 350: Women and Leadership in the Arab World
ARAB 434: Modern Arabic Literature in Translation
ARAB 452: Imagining Palestine
ARAB 453: Film, Nation, and Identity in the Arab World

Recent Publications


Pens, Swords, and the Springs of Art: The Oral Poetry Dueling of Palestinian Weddings in the Galilee, Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.

Refereed Articles and Chapters

“Working with Grassroots Digital Humanities Projects: the Case of the Tal al-Za`tar Facebook Groups,” Digital Humanities and Islamic & Middle East Studies edited by Elias Muhanna. De Gruyter 2016, pp. 103-116.

“The Afterlives of Violent Images: Reading Photographs from the Tal al-Za`tar Refugee Camp on Facebook,” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 8, 2/3, pp. 327-54, 2015.

“Refracted Filmmaking in Muhammad Malas’ The Dream and Kamal Aljafari’s The Roof,” Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. 2014.

“Narrating the Nakba: the Seventh Decade,” Narrating ‘conflict’:  Discourse, Spectacle, Commemoration and Communication Practices in Palestine and Lebanon. Eds.  Dina Matar and Zahera Harb. London: I B Taurus, 2013.

“Utopia and Dystopia in Palestinian Circular Journeys from Ghassan Kanafani to Contemporary Film,” Journal of Middle East Literatures, 15, 3. 2012.

“Azza Hassan and Impossible Filmmaking in Israel/Palestine,” Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema and Music. Ed. Karima Laachir and Saeed Talajooy. London: Routledge, 2012.  

“Dismantling the Discourses of War: Palestinian Women Filmmakers Address Violence,” in Gender and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa, edited by Moha Ennaji and Fatima Sadiqi. Routledge, 2011, pp. 231-246.

“Paradise Now: Narrating a Failed Politics,” in Film and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Ed. Josef Gugler. University of Texas Press.  2010.

“The Dupes: Three Generations Uprooted and Betrayed,” in Film and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Ed. Josef Gugler. University of Texas Press. 2010.

“Waiting: A Scattered People Waiting for a Common Future,” in Film and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa. Ed. Josef Gugler. University of Texas Press. 2010.

“Gendering the Palestinian Political Cartoon,” Towards a Palestinian Cultural Studies, a special issue of Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 2, 2. 2009, pp. 187-213.

“Arts Under Occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 8, 2008.

“The Palestinian Cinematic Wedding,” JMEWS: Journal of Middle Eastern Women’s Studies, 3,2, Spring 2007, pp. 56-85.

“The Production of Locality in the Oral Palestinian Poetry Duel,” Literature and Nation in the Middle East. Eds. Yasir Suleiman and Ibrahim Muhawi, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006, pp. 16-30.

“Cities of Salt,” in Middle Eastern Literatures and Their Times = World Literature and Its Times, Volume 6, Detroit: Gale Group, 2004, pp. 75-84.

“The Tale of Those Who Did Not Travel:  Reading Yahya Tahir `Abdullah’s Al-Tawq wal-Aswarah as Sirah,” Journal of Arabic Literature. Vol. 36, 2, 2005, pp. 111-135. 

“Toward a Synchronic Analysis of the Meters of Palestinian Oral Poetry,” Al-Arabiyya, 2003, pp. 1-26.

“Some of Us Must Depart: An Intertextual Reading of a Mountain Poem by Ibn Khafajah,” Journal of Arabic Literature, Vol. 30, 3, 1999, 240-258.