I specialize in zones of contact between Arabic and Hebrew, and my work often finds itself at the nexus of literature and history, or of cultural studies and religion. My interests include comparative Jewish and Islamic modernities (as viewed through the haskala and modernist Islam); the intellectual and literary history of Arab Jews in the late nineteenth-century Arab East (Iraq, Greater Syria, and Egypt), particularly their participation in the nahda and the haskala; contemporary Hebrew and Arabic writing in Israel/Palestine; the revision of modern Sephardi/Mizrahi/ Arab Jewish intellectual history (fostering collaborative work on North Africa, the Levant, and the Ottoman heartland); Jewish literary multilingualism and the revision of modern Hebrew literary history (haskala to present); Jewish literature and world literature; comparative Middle Eastern literatures; the broader comparative history of modern non-Western "renaissance" and "enlightenment" movements; temporalities of Israel/Palestine; passing, doubling, and the split self in cultures of the U.S. and Israel/Palestine; and questions of comparison and asymmetry, particularly in relation to literature and asymmetric warfare. Throughout these myriad pursuits, I am particularly fascinated by questions of comparison, historicism, linguistic representation, literary multilingualism, and (cross)cultural circulation.
My award-winning book Poetic Trespass examines multilingualism, translation, and the cultural politics of language in the literature, art, and cinema of Israel/Palestine from the early 20th century to 2010. With Allison Schachter, I co-edited a special issue of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History on Jewish literature and World Literature (fall 2017). I am currently at work on my second book, an intellectual history of Arab Jews from 1863-1948. I am also working on temporality in contemporary Palestinian and Israeli culture, and am in early stages of a new project on cross-identification (twinning, doubling, passing) in cultural discourse from Palestine and Israel, with an eye to revising dominant paradigms of relationality between the "political" and the "psychological" and the politics of allegory in critical readings of the conflict.
Poetic Trespass: Writing between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine (Princeton UP, 2014): http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10389.html
The Jewish Nahda: An Arab-Jewish Intellectual History (provisional title). Under contract with Stanford UP. Expected 2019.
Selected Articles (can be accessed and downloaded here)
"A Non-Universal Global: On Jewish Writing and World Literature" (co-authored with Allison Schachter), Prooftexts 36: 1-2 (2017), 1-26.
"The Arab Jew Debates: Media, Culture, Politics, History," Journal of Levantine Studies 17:1 (Summer 2017), 79-103.
"Jewish Literature/ World Literature: Between the Local and the Transnational" (co-authored with Allison Schachter), PMLA 130:1 (January 2015), 92–109.
“The Nahda and the Haskala: A Comparative Reading of ‘Revival’ and ‘Reform,’” Middle Eastern Literatures 16:3 (Winter 2013), 300-316.
“Nation, Village, Cave: A Spatial Reading of 1948 in Three Novels of Anton Shammas, Emile Habiby, and Elias Khoury,” Jewish Social Studies 18:3 (Spring/ Summer 2012): 10-26.
"Partitioned Pasts: Arab Jewish Intellectuals and the Case of Esther Azhari Moyal (1873-1948)," The Making of the Arab Intellectual (1880-1960): Empire, Public Sphere, and the Colonial Coordinates of Selfhood, ed. Dyala Hamzah (Routledge, 2012).
“Who is an Arab Jew? A Comparative Inquiry into the Origins of the Question, 1880-2008,” Teorya u-vikoret (Theory and Criticism) 38-39 (Winter 2011), 101-135 (in Hebrew).
"Reorienting Hebrew Literary History: The View from the East," Prooftexts 29:2 (2010), 127-172.
"Historicizing the Concept of Arab Jews in the Mashriq," Jewish Quarterly Review 98:4 (Fall 2008), 452-469.
"Self and the City: Literary Representations of Jewish Baghdad," Prooftexts 26 (2006): 163-211.