Arab American scholar to give reading Sept. 17
Mohja Kahf will give a reading, “Arab American Muslim Woman Balancing Act,” Thursday, Sept. 17, at 4:30 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium at Syracuse University.
Born in Damascus, Syria, Kahf is an associate professor of comparative literature and faculty member of the King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas. Her books include a novel, “The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf” (Perseus, 2006), a poetry book, “E-mails from Scheherazad” (University Press of Florida, 2003), and a book of scholarship, “Western Representations of the Muslim Woman” (University of Texas, 1999).
Kahf immigrated to the United States in 1971 as a young child with her parents. Her study of early Muslim women, “Braiding the Stories: The Eloquence of Women in Early Islam” appears in Gisela Webb’s “Windows of Faith: U.S. Muslim Women Scholar Activists.” Her poems were projected in giant lights on the façade of the New York Public Library as part of an installment project, “For the City,” that included work by Mahmoud Darwish.
Kahf’s poetry has also appeared in more conventional venues such as the literary journals Mizna, Banipal, the Paris Review and the Atlanta Review. Kahf is finishing a poetry manuscript about Hajar, Sarah and Abraham, and working on a book of essays on faith experiences, women, the body and interfaith conversations.
Kahf’s work, approach and presentation are revisionary and important in discussions of gender and sexuality in Islam, Middle Eastern and Muslim identities in the U.S., as well as crosscultural links between the U.S. and the Arab world.
The event is co-sponsored by the English department, the Gender and Globalization Initiative, the Humanities Center, the Judaic Studies program, the Middle Eastern studies program, the religion department, the religion and society program, the women’s and gender studies department and the Writing Program at SU, as well as the English department and the gender and women’s studies program at Le Moyne College.