Genre studies and the development of modern Arabic prose
Modern Iraqi literature
Gender and sexuality in modern Arabic literature and cultural production
My research focuses on developments in modern Arabic literature and visual culture. I am particularly interested in the relationship between aesthetics and politics, the emergence and transformations of new genres and styles in modern Arabic prose, including the novel and short story, the politics of gender and narrative, and theorizing the intersections of textual, material, and visual forms in Arabic cultural production. My published research examines how Arab writers in the twentieth century fashioned new aesthetic forms rooted in the experiences of colonial modernity—expressed through literary texts that narrate the urban/rural divide, the tastes and values of an emerging middle-class sensibility, and the ways that literary narratives registered complex engagements both with ant-colonial and Marxist political movements and transformations of everyday life that marked rapidly urbanizing cities. My research explores how these experiments in literary and artistic form in Arabic provide us with a critical lens into the colonial subject’s encounters with modernity.