Collegiate Assistant Professor, Humanities
Core: Human Being and Citizen
Weissbourd Committee Co-Chair
Adam Spanos studies the cultural traffic between the major imperial powers and the Arabophone polities of the Eastern Mediterranean. His work focuses on instances of borrowing, rejection, mutation and the unpredictable turn in the encounters touched off by colonialism and neocolonialism. He is particularly interested in the ways that Arabs have used Western literary forms to undo and recompose the presuppositions of Western aesthetics, politics, and anthropology.
Spanos received his PhD in English at New York University with a focus on postcolonial studies. His doctoral research queried the proliferating figurations of time in twentieth-century Egyptian and Lebanese literature. The product of this investigation argues that Arab novelists, playwrights, and cultural critics sought to elaborate nonlinear models of time in order to make sense of the historical changes precipitated by imperialism and to discern paths to more just futures.
His current projects include a study of the rhetorics of sincerity and irony in postcolonial literature and an investigation of poverty in the Arabic world as it is imagined in literature and journalistic prose. His work on the function of translation in the pan-Arabist journal al-Adab has appeared in Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics. He has a forthcoming essay on the notion of a postcolonial avant-garde in the volume The Postcolonial Contemporary, to be published by Fordham University Press.