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Michael Cooperson: Rethinking Arabic Literary History

March 21, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Rethinking Arabic Literary History

CMES is pleased to present the 2022 H.A.R. Gibb Arabic & Islamic Studies Lecture Series with

Michael Cooperson
Professor of Arabic, University of California, Los Angeles

Register in advance:

Please note: This lecture will be online via Zoom, and everyone wishing to attend should register using the link above. Limited in-person seating for Harvard students and faculty may become available. If so, Harvard students and faculty who have registered will be notified of the campus location for the talk.

The most recent history of Arabic literature in English was written in 1998. Since then, editors and translators have expanded the archive, scholars have repositioned Southwest Asia and North Africa within global and connected histories, and critics have exposed the local character of supposedly universal notions of literature. In this new context, what should a new history of pre-modern Arabic literature look like?

Michael Cooperson is an American scholar and translator of Arabic literature. Cooperson studied at Harvard University and the American University of Cairo, and is currently a professor of Arabic language and literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has published two monographs on early Abbasid cultural history: Classical Arabic Biography: The Heirs of the Prophets in the Age of al-Ma’mun and Al-Mamun (Makers of the Muslim World).

He has translated a number of works from Arabic and French including: Impostures (al-Ḥarīrī); Abdelfattah Kilito’s The Author and His Doubles: Essays on Classical Arabic Culture; Ibn al-Jawzi’s Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal); Khairy Shalaby’s The Time-Travels of the Man Who Sold Pickles and Sweets; and Jurji Zaydan’s The Caliph’s Heirs — Brothers at War: the Fall of Baghdad. In 2021, he won the Sheikh Zayed Book Award for translation from Arabic to English. His other interests include Maltese language and culture.


March 21, 2022
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies