Skip Navigation

Waleed Mahdi

Skip Side Navigation
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 326
Phone: 405-325-3726


PhD in American Studies (US-Middle East Cultural Politics), 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 assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma with expertise in US-Arab cultural politics. He conducts research at the intersection of area studies and ethnic studies as he explores issues of cultural representation and identity politics in American, Arab and Arab American contexts. His book, Arab Americans in Film: From Hollywood and Egyptian Stereotypes to Self-Representation (Syracuse University Press, 2020) compares Hollywood, Egyptian and Arab American cinemas, examining the politics of portraying Arab Americans in each with key interests around identity, belonging and cultural citizenship. 

Waleed is a recipient of various national and international grants, and he has contributed to the Journal of Cinema and Media StudiesMashriq and Mahjar, and the International Journal of Cultural Studies. He has recently completed a multi-institutional research collaboration about the 2011 Arab revolutionary public spheres. And he is currently co-authoring a book with Nate Greenberg that examines the Arab support for American deployment of soft power in the "war on terror" era. He is also developing another book that explores Yemeni and Yemeni American creative expressions of agency in the twenty-first century.


IAS 5940 Global Islamophobia

IAS 3783 US-Arab Cultural Encounters

MLLL 3413 Arabic Literature and Culture

Selected Awards

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

Humanities Forum Grant, Humanities Forum, University of Oklahoma, 2017-18

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

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

Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, University of Minnesota, 2012-13

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 Publications


Arab Americans in Film: From Hollywood and Egyptian Stereotypes to Self-Representation, Syracuse University Press (2020)

Special issue

The Aesthetics of Dissent: Culture and Politics of Transformation in the Arab World, co-edited by Eid Mohamed, Waleed F. Mahdi, and Hamid Dabashi for the International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 23, issue 2, March 2020, pp. 141-281. 

Peer-reviewed articles

Representation without Recognition: A Survey of Arab American Images in Egyptian Cinema” in Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (Cinema Journal formerly), vol. 59, no. 1, 2019, pp. 89-111.

Post-Oriental Otherness: Hollywood’s Moral Geography of Arab Americans,” in Mashriq and Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies, 3, no. 2, 35-61, 2016.

Book chapters

Youth and Revolution: A Call to Reform Higher Education in Yemen,” (co-edited chapter with Abulghani Al-Hattami) in Education and the Arab Spring: Resistance, Reform, and Democracy, editors, Eid Mohamed, Hannah Gerber, and Slimane Aboulkacem. Netherlands: Sense Publishers, 83-94, 2016.

Liberal or Imperial: U.S. Discursive Formations of the Muslim Image,” in Transformation of the Muslim World in the 21st Century, editor, Muhammed Huseyin Mercan, Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 49-62, 2016.

Marked off: Hollywood’s Untold Story of Arabs/Muslims and Camels,” in Muslims and American Popular Culture, editors, Anne R. Richards and Iraj Omidvar. Praeger, 196-223, 2014.

Book & Film Reviews

Recent Conference Presentations

Presenting in “Politics and Prospects for Peace and Reconstruction in Yemen” special session, the Middle East Studies Association, New Orleans (LA), 2019

Presenting in “Refugees and the Resettled: The Challenges of Engaged Research within Middle Eastern American Communities” roundtable, the Middle East Studies Association, San Antonio (TX), 2018  

Presenting in and chairing “Arab Voices and the Decentering of America” roundtable, American Studies Association, Atlanta (GA), 2018

Presenting “Alienating Portrayals: A Survey of Arab Americans in Egyptian Films,” conference on Cinema of the Arab world, American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt, 2018

 Presenting “Militainment: The Art of Killing Yemenis in the War on Terror Era,” conference on “From Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park: De-Centering American Studies in a Transforming World," Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar, 2018

Presenting in “Updating the Conflict in Yemen” roundtable, the Middle East Studies Association, Washington (DC), 2017

"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

Recent Invited Talks

“From Drones to DNA Tests: The Ethics of Using Technology against Yemenis and the Aesthetics of Resistance,” University of Michigan-Dearborn, 2019

“Yemeni Lives at the Intersection of War and Discrimination,” University of Illinois-Chicago, 2019

"The Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen," University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 2018

"Images of Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood," University of North Carolina-Charlotte, 2018

“Images of Arab Americans in Egyptian Films,” Cairo University and American University in Cairo, 2018

“Yemen: Then and Now,” University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, 2017

"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

Selected Interviews