Trinity College Associate Professor of Language and Culture Studies Kifah Hanna has been awarded a Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). The prestigious fellowship will be hosted at Columbia University’s Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Hanna said the fellowship will provide a platform to intellectually engage with scholars and students with similar research interests to fuel new ideas and inspire innovative approaches to scholarship. “It is a wonderful opportunity for me to finalize the research and writing of Floating Sexualities, my second monograph, while being part of a community of distinguished scholars in Middle East studies as well as gender and sexuality studies,” she said.
Hanna’s book presents an original study of non-normative sexualities during periods of political upheaval in the contemporary Arab Middle East. The conceptual innovation of “floating sexualities” allows a nuanced examination of non-normative sexualities as they travel across genres (literature, film, and social media) in relation to the lived realities of war and regional instability.
In addition to finalizing the writing of Floating Sexualities, Hanna said she looks forward to contributing to the intellectual life of MESAAS and the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality (IRWGS) at Columbia. “At this stage of research and writing of my second book manuscript, it is important for me to be able to share my work on a regular basis with scholars in the academic fields I engage with in my book,” she said. “Whether it is events I organize or those I attend and participate in during my fellowship, these will be essential venues for me to share my work and receive constructive feedback.”
At Trinity, Hanna’s teaching and advising will continue to be informed by her scholarship. “The research for my book has already inspired me to teach new courses that focus on gender and sexuality in contemporary Arabic literature,” she said. “I look forward to teaching my new course, ‘Arab and Queer,’ upon my return to campus in academic year 2021-2022. I will be eager to integrate my work on this book into my advising as well as any student-initiated research projects.”
Hanna, who received her Ph.D. in comparative literature and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K., has been a member of the Trinity faculty since 2009. Hanna’s scholarly research informs her teaching pedagogy as she encourages her students to challenge perceived notions of gender and sexuality in their examinations of Arabic literature, culture, and cinema. Her research and teaching interests broadly include 20th and 21st century Arabic literature, especially the writings of Arab women and other marginalized groups.
ACLS is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations. As the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good.