I am a scholar of Arabic literature and critical theory in comparative and postcolonial contexts. My research focuses on connections between Arabic and European literatures and thought: temporal, spatial, intellectual, and linguistic. In my dissertation, Poetics of Modernity in 19th Century Arabic Maqamas which I am currently revising as a book manuscript, I examined mobility and intellectual exchange in the maqama. The maqama is a trickster-centered narrative genre that dates back to 10th century Baghdad. It was revitalized during the 19th century Nahda, or Arab Renaissance. Focusing on the maqama in the context of the 19th century allows me to travel across time and space, looking for threads of continuity between modern and premodern Arabic literature as well as forms of exchange between Arabic and European literatures. My project is part of a larger engagement with questions on periodization in literary history and, specifically, the way the story of the Nahda has been told in Arabic literary histories. More broadly, I do research in genre studies, geopoetics and the intersection of geography and literary representations, translation theory, the travel of texts, ideas, and individuals, in addition to posthumanism.
Before joining Bowdoin College, I taught courses at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, Purdue University in Indiana, and Cornell University in New York. My teaching interests include the Arabic language at all levels, modern and medieval Arabic literature, in addition to world and postcolonial literatures. Rama Alhabian is holding a PhD from Cornell University, MA from Cornell University & King Saud University and BA, English Language and Translation, Effat University.