Kifah Hanna

Associate Professor
Arabic language, literature and culture

Chosen to be the next
Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Language and Culture Studies

My passion for reading developed at an early age growing up in Syria within a family of educators, to whom the written word carried significant weight. Arabic as a language, seduced me by its richness and dimensions, often compared to a sea in its depth and abundance. Throughout my childhood, I spent long summer nights learning the science of poetry by reciting classical verses at family gatherings. It is my infatuation with the Arabic language and my continued fascination with its poetic expression that I share with my students. It is this linguistic and cultural richness that I engage with in my scholarship.

From my early writings exploring the aesthetic of Arabic poetics in feminist literature, to my current work investigating the literary and linguistic dimensions of queer cultural productions in the Arab world and diaspora, my focus is the complexity of the relationship and interdependence between linguistic and cultural elements in highlighting and affecting social relevance.

This project, in keeping with my scholarship in general, brings to light how our language and our stories, carry with them a deep concern for the human purpose in response to socio-political changes in the Arab world at the turn of the twenty-first century. It is my hope that these narratives, as they travel across literal and figurative borders, continue to relay within them the abundance of Arabic as a language and the wealth of its culture.