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Hala Halim

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature , Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles; M.A., American University in Cairo; B.A., 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; cosmopolitanism; Mediterraneanism and Levantinism; South-South comparatism; Nahda and comparative modernities; Translation Studies; travel literature; globalization; urban cultures


Hala Halim is the author of Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive, which interrogates how modern Alexandria was nominated as the cosmopolitan Middle Eastern city par excellence. Arguing that Alexandrian cosmopolitanism is a Eurocentric discourse, the book is a comparative study of literary representations by canonical writers such as C. P. Cavafy, E. M. Forster, Lawrence Durrell as well as the virtually unpublished librettist Bernard de Zogheb. The book sets the European representations in dialogue with Arabic critical, historical and artistic texts to consider alternative and more egalitarian modes of solidarity. Her current project, on postcolonial cosmopolitanism, builds on her article “Lotus, the Afro-Asian Nexus, and Global South Comparatism.” The article addresses the journal Lotus: Afro-Asian Writings once published by the Afro-Asian Writers’ Association that she has been researching for many years in relation to post-Bandung Third Worldism. Other projects include editing Bernard de Zogheb’s unpublished libretti and a study that develops her previous work on the Egyptian novelist and critic Edwar al-Kharrat.


  • Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive (Fordham University Press, 2013)
  • 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; paperback edition 2008

Articles and Book Chapters:

  • “Ahmed Fouad Negm: ‘Speaking Truth to Power.’” In I Say My Words Out Loud: Ahmed Fouad Negm. Amsterdam: Prince Claus Fund, 2013. Solicited by the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development on the 2013 Principal Prince Claus Award recipient, Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm
  • Lotus, the Afro-Asian Nexus, and Global South Comparatism,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 32, no. 3 (2012): 563-83
  • Miramar: A Pension at the Intersection of Competing Discourses,” Approaches to Teaching the Works of Naguib Mahfouz, ed. Waïl Hassan and Susan Muaddi Darraj, Modern Language Association of North America, 2012: 184-201
  • “Latter-day Levantinism, or ‘Polypolis’ in the Libretti of Bernard de Zogheb,” California Italian Studies, vol. 1, no. 1 (2010): 1-43. (article)
  • “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
  • “Continental drift,” an interview with Nadine Gordimer, Al-Ahram Weekly, 7-13 December, 2006. (article)
  • “Mahfouz on Mahfouz,” translations of extracts from statements by Naguib Mahfouz, Al-Ahram Weekly, 31 August-6 September, 2006. (article)
  • “Victoria into Victory,” a chapter in Victoria College: A History Revealed, American University in Cairo Press, 2002: 187-243


  • Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles

  • Humanities Initiative Faculty Fellowship, NYU

  • American Comparative Literature Association 2014 Honorable Mention for the Harry Levin Prize for Best First Book in Comparative Literature for Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive
  • Clamor of the Lake recipient of Egyptian State Incentive Award 2006 for Literary Translation; runner up for the first London-based Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

Updated on 07/29/2015