The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.
We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Adam Talib, BA [California], MA [Cairo], DPhil [Oxon]
(email at email@example.com)
My work demonstrates how the methods, concerns, and reading practices of comparative literature can illuminate the cultural lives of societies that were neither structured by the nation-state nor mediated by European languages. By combining the perspective and analytical instincts of a comparatist with philological training in three key Islamicate literary idioms (Classical Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish), my research seeks to redress the imbalances of epistemic power that have shaped the field of comparative literature.
My first book, How Do You Say “Epigram” in Arabic? Literary History at the Limits of Comparison, uses the methods of archival literary history, Classical Arabic philology, and translation to explore the limitations of the epigram as a category in literary studies. By bringing to light the previously unknown history of Arabic maqatiʿ-poetry, the book demonstrates how extra-European literary histories can inform and radically transform both the intellectual basis of comparative literature and the landscape of world literature.
I am currently at work on my second book, a study of how acts of sexual violence, coercion, and harassment are represented in pre-modern Islamicate literatures and how these representations have been understood, contested, and interpreted by different communities over time. This book draws on literature in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish (as well as other Islamicate languages that I access through translation) in a variety of forms, including poetry, legal texts, narrative, and historiography, as well as premodern visual representations and contemporary interpretations in media. This reflection on the prevalence of sexual violence, coercion, and harassment in the prestigious canon of Islamicate literatures will encourage scholars and students to engage with and further develop an ethics of reading and teaching.
In my teaching, I have the pleasure of introducing first-year students to the study of the cultures of the Middle East and to work with students in their second year on approaches to reading modern and premodern Arabic literature. Dr Marc Schachter (French and Italian) and I also offer a module on histories of gender and sexuality in the ancient and premodern societies of the Mediterranean basin. This is currently the only translingual module offered in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. I work with fourth-year students with advanced Arabic language skills to survey literary representations of difference and marginality (including time, sexuality, age, ethnicity, language, etc.).
I have worked with MA and PhD students doing research into a variety of subjects, including Arabic poetry in West Africa, representations of gender in premodern Arabic historiography, popular memory in Egyptian TV shows, Coptic responses to the plague, and others. I welcome emails from prospective applicants for MA or PhD degrees and postdoctoral fellowships.
I'm the associate editor of the Journal of Arabic Literature responsible for classical submissions and I'm on the editorial board of the Journal of World Literature and the advisory board of Gorgias Press' Modern Muslim World book series. I'm also on the jury for Gorgias Press' Classical Islamic World Book Prize.
I studied literary translation with the late master Michael Henry Heim while I was an undergraduate at UCLA. I've translated four novels from Arabic into English as well as several shorter pieces. My co-translation of Raja Alem's The Dove's Necklace tied for 1st place in the Arabic-to-English category at the 2017 Sheikh Hamad Award for Translation.
Indicators of Esteem
- 2017: 1st place (tied) Arabic into English, Hamad Translation Award 2017:
- 2017: 2016–17 Jean Gimbel Lane Global Humanities Scholar-in-Residence, Northwestern University:
- 2020: Podcast Interview: Recent interview about my research
- Classical Arabic Poetry
- Arabic literary history and the canon
- Comparative Islamicate poetry: the development of poetic traditions in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman literatures
- Classical Arabic literary scholarship: rhetoric, criticism, and prosody
- Literary Translation
- Talib, Adam (2018). How do you say “Epigram” in Arabic? Literary history at the limits of comparison. Leiden Boston: Brill.
Chapter in book
- Talib, Adam (2018). Citystruck. In The City in Arabic Literature: Classical and Modern Perspectives. Hermes, Nizar F. & Head, Gretchen Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 138-164.
- Talib, Adam (2017). Fathers and Husbands. In Arabic Humanities, Islamic Thought: a Essays in Honor of Everett K. Rowson. Lowry, Joseph E. & Toorawa, Shawkat M. Leiden Boston: Brill. 141: 233-255.
- Talib, Adam (2014). Caricature and obscenity in mujūn poetry and African-American women’s hip-hop. In The Rude, the Bad, and the Bawdy: Essays in honour of Professor Geert Jan van Gelder. Talib, Adam, Hammond, Marlé & Schippers, Arie Cambridge: Gibb Memorial Trust. 276-298.
- Talib, Adam (2013). Topoi and Topography in the Histories of al-Ḥīra. In History and Identity in the Late Antique Near East. Wood, Philip Oxford: Oxford University Press. 123–147.
- Talib, Adam (2011). Le Gallienne’s Paraphrase and the limits of translation. In FitzGerald's Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: Popularity and Neglect. Poole, Adrian, van Ruymbeke, Christine, Martin, William H. & Mason, Sandra Anthem Press. 175–192.
- Talib, Adam, Hammond, Marlé & Schippers, Arie (2014). The Rude, the Bad, and the Bawdy: Essays in honour of Geert Jan van Gelder. Gibb Memorial Trust.
- Talib, Adam & Balda-Tillier, Monica (2015). Arabic literature, 1200–1800: a new orientation. Annales Islamologiques, 49 Institut français d’archéologie orientale.
- Talib, Adam (2019). Al-Ṣafadī, his Critics, and the Drag of Philological Time. Philological Encounters 4(1-2): 109-134.
- Talib, Adam (2015). A New Source for the Poetry of Ibn Maṭrūḥ (1196–1251). Annales Islamologiques 49: 115-142.
- Talib, Adam (2013). The Many Lives of Arabic Verse: Ibn Nubātah al-Miṣrī Mourns More Than Once. Journal of Arabic Literature 44(3): 257-292.
- Talib, Adam (2013). Woven together as though randomly strung: Variation in collections of naevi-poetry compiled by al-Nuwayrī and al-Sarī al-Raffāʾ. Mamlūk Studies Review 17: 23-42.
- Talib, Adam (2012). Pseudo-Ṯaʿālibī’s Book of Youths. Arabica 59(6): 599–649.
- Talib, Adam & Halls, Katharine (trans.) (2016). Alim, Raja, The Dove's Necklace by Raja Alem (translation of the Arabic novel Ṭawq al-ḥamām, Casablanca: al-Markaz ath-Thaqāfī al-ʿArabī, 2010) . New York, NY: Overlook Duckworth
- Talib, Adam (trans.) (2011). Sarmada by Fadi Azzam (translation of the Arabic novel Sarmadah, Beirut: ad-Dār al-ʿArabiyyah lil-ʿUlūm, 2011) . Haus, Interlink
- Talib, Adam (trans.) (2011). The Hashish Waiter by Khairy Shalaby (translation of the Arabic novel Ṣāliḥ Hēṣah, Cairo: Dār al-Hilāl, 2000; repr. Dār ash-Shurūq, 2008) . American Univ. in Cairo Press
- Talib, Adam (trans.) (2009). Cairo Swan Song by Mekkawi Said (translation of the Arabic novel Taghrīdat al-bajʿah, Cairo: ad-Dār, 2006) . American Univ. in Cairo Press