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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 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 of US-Arab cultural politics at the University of Oklahoma. 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. Waleed is a recipient of several national and international awards, and his peer-reviewed work appears in various venues including American Quarterly, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, International Journal of Cultural Studies, and Mashriq and Mahjar

Waleed’s current book project analyzes Yemeni and Yemeni American creative expressions of agency in the twenty-first century. He is co-authoring a book with Nate Greenberg that examines US-Arab "war on terror" alignment in Arabic-speaking media and entertainment. He is also guest-editing the special issue "MENA Migrants and Diasporas in Twenty-First-Century Media" for Mashriq and Mahjar.

Waleed’s recent book Arab Americans in Film: From Hollywood and Egyptian Stereotypes to Self-Representation (Syracuse University Press, 2020) examines how Arab American belonging is constructed, defined, and redefined across Hollywood, Egyptian and Arab American cinemas. He also completed a multi-institutional research collaboration with Columbia University, the University of Jordan and the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies about the 2011 Arab revolutionary public spheres.


IAS 5940 Global Islamophobia

IAS 3783 US-Arab Cultural Encounters

MLLL 3413 Arabic Literature and Culture

Selected Awards

Selected Awards

Arab America Foundation Award, “40 Under 40” List of Most Accomplished Arab Americans for their contributions to professions and communities, 2021

Faculty Investment Program Grant, University of Oklahoma, 2020-21

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, 2015

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

"Transmilitainment: Morocco’s Role in Hollywood’s War on Terror Films" in American Quarterly, vol. 73, no. 4, 2021, 767-791.

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, 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.

Peer-reviewed chapters

Echoes of a Scream: US Drones and Articulations of the Houthi Sarkha Slogan in Yemen,” in Cultural Production and Social Movements After the Arab Spring: Nationalism, Politics and Transnational Identity, editors Eid Mohamed and Ayman El Desouky. London: I. B. Tauris, pp. 205-221, 2021.

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

Selected Invited Talks

“Publishing Experience from Dissertation to Book,” University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, 2020

“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