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Durham University

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Dr Abir Hamdar, MA English Literature (American University of Beirut), PhD Languages and Cultures of the Near and ME (SOAS-University of London)

Associate Professor (Reader) / Deputy Director of Research (Impact) in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43034
Room number: A54, Elvet Riverside I

Contact Dr Abir Hamdar (email at

I have an MA in English Literature (American University of Beirut) and a PhD in the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East (SOAS, University of London). Before coming to Durham in 2012, I taught at the American University of Beirut and the University of Manchester and I was also a post-doctoral researcher on the AHRC/ESRC “Islamism in Arab Fiction and Film” project at Lancaster University.

I have a primary research specialism in modern Middle Eastern literatures, film and cultures with a particular interest in questions of health, illness and disability. My monograph The Female Suffering Body: Illness and Disability in Modern Arabic Literature (Syracuse University Press, 2014) is the first major study of female physical illness and disability in contemporary Arabic literature of the Levant and Egypt from 1950 to the present. Please see the following link for further details:

I also have an additional specialism in literature and religion, particularly literary and filmic representations of Islamism from the Middle East and North Africa. I have co-edited a collection of essays (with Lindsey Moore) entitled Islamism and Cultural Expression in the Arab World (Routledge, 2015). I also specialise in gender and postcolonial literatures and film more broadly and have published a number of articles and book chapters that explore my research interests. Finally, I am also a short story writer and playwright.

 I am currently working on a new research project that extends my interests in Middle Eastern literatures, film and the medical humanities: a cultural history of cancer in the Arab world. This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of its Open World Research Initiative. For further details please see: and

Research Interests

  • Modern Middle Eastern Literatures, Film and Cultures
  • Illness and Disability
  • Religion and Literature/Film
  • Gender
  • Postcolonial Literature and Film

Selected Publications

Authored book

Book review

  • Hamdar, Abir (2012). Media Warfare. Review of Channels of Resistance in Lebanon: Liberation Propaganda, Hezbollah and the Media. By Zahera Harb. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 5.
  • Hamdar, Abir (2012). Review of Contemporary Arab Women Writers: Cultural Expression in Context. By Anastasia Valassopoulos. Women: A Cultural Review, Special issue on Transnational Feminisms
  • Abir Hamdar (2000). Review of In the House of Silence: Autobiographical Essays by Arab Women Writers. By Fadia Faqir. Al-Raida XVII(89).

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Hamdar, Abir. (2017). Short Film: Wasafuli al-Sabr. Directed by Soha Choucair & Lina Abyad. Edited by Moonshot Post-Production.


  • Hamdar, Abir. (2017). Hospital Performance: Wasafuli al-Sabr (Eng. Title: I am Waiting for You). Directed by Lina Abyad. 8 August. Lebanese American University Medical Centre-Rizk Hospital, Beirut.
  • Hamdar, Abir. (2017). Wasafuli al-Sabr (Eng. title: I am Waiting for You). Directed by Lina Abyad. 19 July - 29 July. Madina Theater, Beirut.
  • Hamdar, Abir (2014). Lecture Performance: I Want to Tell You Something. 15th EACLALS TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE 2014, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck. Performed November 1999 until November 1999.
  • Hamdar, Abir (2010). The Silicone Bomb. Directed by Lina Abyad. 7th Creative Independent Forum in Alexandria; and the Amman International Theatre Festival AITF in Jordan.
  • Hamdar, Abir (2009). The Silicone Bomb. Directed by Lina Abyad. The Lebanese American University of Beirut, Gulbenkian Theatre. Further performances at the Hamana Festival in Lebanon; the 12th International Theatre Festival at the Lebanese American University; and Madina Theater in Beirut.

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