Associate Professor, Arabic Language and Literature
Office: 15 Seminary Place Room 6161, College Avenue Campus
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:30
Samah Selim was born in Egypt and has lived in the UK, Libya, France and Germany. She received her BA in English Literature from Barnard College in 1986 and her PhD from the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University in 1997. She has previously taught at Columbia University, Princeton University and the University of Aix-en-Provence, and she directs the literature module of the Berlin-based postdoctoral research program, Europe in the Middle East; the Middle East in Europe.
Her research focuses mainly on modern Arabic Literature (19th/20th century) in Egypt and the Levant, with a particular interest in narrative genres like the novel and short story; comparative theories of fiction, and cultural discourses on modernity and the politics of translation practice in colonial and postcolonial contexts.
Her book, The Novel and the Rural Imaginary in Egypt, explores the relationship between the rise of the novel genre, the politics of nationalist representation and the peasant question over the course of the 20th century in Egypt. Dr. Selim, who is also a practicing literary translator, is currently at work on a book about translation, modernity and popular fiction in early 20th century Egypt.
"The Narrative Craft: Fiction and Realism in the Arabic Canon," Edebiyat, vol. 14, nos. 1 & 2, 2003.
The Novel and the Rural Imaginary in Egypt, 1880-1985. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004.
“The People’s Entertainments: Translation, Popular Fiction and the Nahdah in Egypt,” Other Renaissances: A New Approach to World Literature, eds. Brenda Dean Schilgen, Gang Zhou & Sandra L. Gilman, New York: Palgrave McMillan Press, 2007.
“Pharaoh’s Revenge: Translation, Literary History and Colonial Ambivalence,” Critical Readings in Translation Studies, ed. Mona Baker, London: Routledge, 2009.
“Languages of Civilization: Nation, Translation and the Politics of Race in colonial Egypt,” The Translator, vol. 16, April, 2009.
AMESALL courses, present and future
- Introduction to the Literatures of the Middle East
- Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature and Society
- Topics in AMESALL: The Modern Arab Renaissance
- Advanced Arabic