Hala Halim

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and Comparative Literature; Director of Undergraduate Studies
Ph.D. 2004, University of California, Los Angeles; M.A. 1992, American University in Cairo; B.A. 1985, Alexandria University

Office Address: Department of Comparative Literature
19 University Place, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003

Areas of Research/Interest
modern Arabic, English and Anglophone literatures; postcolonial theory and alternative modernities; autobiography, autoethnography, and travel writing; theory and practice of translation; cosmopolitanism, globalization, gender, and the city.

Hala Halim's research and teaching address a wide variety of issues, including contrasting accounts of heritage and urban spaces in relation to narratives of identity; translation studies and the practice of translation; questions of genre and "transculturation"; and comparative genealogies of cosmopolitanism. She has published on such subjects as the postcolonial redrawing of British educational policies in Egypt, the films of Youssef Chahine, E. M. Forster's Egyptian texts, and the translation and reception of Constantine P. Cavafy's poetry in Arabic. She is currently revising a manuscript entitled "The Alexandria Archive: An Archaeology of Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism" which identifies and critiques a Eurocentric, quasi-colonial paradigm of cosmopolitanism associated with Alexandria and seeks out alternative modes of inter-ethnic and inter-religious solidarity that speak to current postcolonial Middle Eastern imperatives. She has held an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at UCLA's Humanities Consortium, and her translation of a novel by Mohamed El-Bisatie, Clamor of the Lake, received an Egyptian State Incentive Award in 2006.


  • Heads Ripe for Plucking, an English translation of Mahmoud Al-Wardani’s novel Awan al-Qitaf, with a Translator’s Afterword, American University in Cairo Press, 2008
  • Clamor of the Lake, an English translation of Mohamed El-Bisatie’s award-winning novel Sakhab al-Buhayra, American University in Cairo Press, 2004
  • “Latter-day Levantinism, or ‘Polypolis’ in the Libretti of Bernard de Zogheb,” California Italian Studies, vol. 1, no. 1 (2010): 1-43. Online at: <http://escholarship.org/uc/item/4t31n9vc>
  • “Forster in Alexandria: Gender and Genre in Narrating Colonial Cosmopolitanism,” Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World, vol. 4, nos. 2-3 (2006): 237-273
  • A review of Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out, ed. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 26, no. 1 (2006): 146-147
  • “Continental drift,” an interview with Nadine Gordimer, Al-Ahram Weekly, 7-13 December, 2006. Online at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/823/fr3.htm
  • “Mahfouz on Mahfouz,” translations of extracts from statements by Naguib Mahfouz, Al-Ahram Weekly, 31 August-6 September, 2006. Online at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/810/sc55.htm
  • “Victoria into Victory,” a chapter in Victoria College: A History Revealed, American University in Cairo Press, 2002: 187-243

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