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Waleed Mahdi

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Waleed Mahdi

Waleed F. Mahdi

Assistant Professor, US-Arab Cultural Politics
International and Area Studies
Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
Film and Media Studies
Farzaneh Hall, Room 321
Phone: 405-325-3726


PhD in American Studies (US-Middle East Cultural History), University of Minnesota, 2015

MA in Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of New Mexico, 2008

BA in English Literature, Taiz University (Yemen), 2003


Waleed F. Mahdi is an assistant professor at the Department of International and Area Studies and the Department of Modern Languages, Literature, and Linguistics. He is a comparatist with research and teaching interests in US-Arab cultural politics. His current book project examines the representation of Arab Americans in Hollywood, Egyptian, and Arab American filmmaking with key interest around issues of identity, belonging, and cultural citizenship. He is also contributing to a multi-institutional research collaboration that examines Arab contemporary public spheres at the interplay of politics, religion, and culture. In this collaboration, he is conducting research related to Yemen as part of his interest in a second book project that locates the country’s current turmoil between 9/11 echoes and Arab Spring unrest.

Selected Awards

Humanities Forum Grant, Humanities Forum, OU

Junior Faculty Summer Research Fellowship, College of International Studies, OU

Presidential International Travel Fellowship, OU

Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), Research Collaboration, 2016-19

National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID), Exemplary Diversity Scholar Award, 2016

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Summer Institute, 2015

ICGC-MacArthur Scholarship, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, University of Minnesota, 2008-09

Fulbright Foreign Student Scholarship, University of New Mexico, 2007-08

Recent Conference Presentations

"Disruption of Hegemony: Mediating Arab American Transcultural Citizenship in Egyptian Cinema," American Comparative Literature Association, Utrecht University, Holland, 2017

"The Chaos of a Scream: A Critical Reading of Houthis’ Sarkha in Yemen," Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar, 2017

“American Dream Contestations: The Cultural Politics of Arab American Citizenship in Film,” Arab American Studies Association, Dearborn, 2017

"US Drones–Houthi Responses: A Critical Reading of Ansarullah’s Resistance Politics in Yemen," Middle East Studies Association, Denver, 2015

"Reclaiming Agency: Toward an Arab American Film Industry?," American Studies Association, Los Angeles, 2014

"Transgressing a Revolution: Yemen between 9/11 Echoes and Arab Spring Unrest,” British Society for Middle East Studies, University of Sussex, UK, 2014

"Arab Americans or Arabs-in-America? Manufacturing Identity in Hollywood’s Studios," Arab American Studies Association, Dearborn, 2014

"Going Transnational: Re-Mapping the Arab American Experience," Center for American Studies and Research, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, 2014

"Re-Narrating Otherness: Arab Americans and Articulations of Difference," Middle East Studies Association, New Orleans, 2013

Taught Courses

US-Arab Cultural Encounters

Arabic Literature and Culture

Cultural Politics of Contemporary Islam

Arab Spring-American Echoes

The United States since 9/11

Recent Invited Talks

"Hollywood's Cartographies of Arabness," Graduate Research Seminar Series, Qatar

"Cultural Prejudices as Threats to Democracy" Forum on Democracy, OU

"A Reading of Present and Future Yemen," Al-Hewar Center, Virginia, 2016

"The Politics of Translation," Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC, 2016

"Disruptions in Hollywood’s Representation of Arabs and Muslims," University of Guelph, Canada, 2015

"Through Egyptian Eyes" Book Workshop, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada, 2014

Public Lecturer on the Middle East, Great Decisions Program, Minnesota International Center, 2013-15

Recent Interviews

Yemen: Chaos, War and Higher Education

Fear, Faith and Fair Portrayals of Muslims

War and Peace in Yemen

الوضع الراهن في الولايات المتحدة والشرق الأوسط (interview in Arabic for Assabah Tunisian newspaper about US-Middle East contemporary politics)

صورة العربي في هوليوود بين الإرهاب والتهريج(interview in Arabic for a Radio Sawa report about Arabs in Hollywood by Sari Al Khalili)

الإسلاموفوبيا ومخرجات الرَّبيع العربيّ مقابلة مع د. وليد مهدي (interview in Arabic about Islamophobia and Arab Spring Products, published in the Arab cultural forum of Alawan, click here for the English translation)

Visual Representations of Arab Americans in Hollywood (interview for Minnesota-based Public TV-Show, Belahdan)