Anne-Marie McManus is Assistant Professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Culture. Her research intervenes in contemporary debates in comparative literature, postcolonial studies, the sociology of cultural production, and the changing role of literary theory in Middle East area studies, particularly following the uprisings of 2011. In her research and teaching, she combines literary analysis with close attention to social and political theory, drawing on methods from fields such as translation studies, gender studies, anthropology, and sociology. In much of her academic research, Anne-Marie studies institutional and informal contexts for the transnational circulation of literature to argue for new critical methods in comparative literature. An example of her work in this area, titled "Scale in the Balance: Reading with the IPAF (The Arabic Booker Prize)" is forthcoming in the International Journal of Middle East Studies in April 2016. Her recent writing also appears in Arab Studies Journal, the Journal of Middle East Women's StudiesExpressions Maghrébines, and Jadaliyya.


Anne-Marie is the author of a book manuscript in progress, tentatively titled Of Other Languages: Arabic Literature, Decolonization, and Materialities of Language. The study shows that between the 1950s and 1970s, leading writers in Arabic literature like Haydar Haydar, Muhummad Berrada, and Saadi Youssef criss-crossed the region as teachers, students, and translators of Arabic, participating in state-sponsored programs to regulate and impose the Arabic language in Morocco and Algeria. In an era of revolutionary ferment, they envisioned their linguistic journeys as a form of anti-imperial activism to mobilize new solidarities across national borders. A regional language, Arabic in the mid-20th century was the focus of anti-colonial ideologies such as Arab nationalism, and controversial state interventions to build national culture after European imperialism, known as “Arabization” in the Maghreb. Of Other Languages is the first comparative literary study to engage Arabic literatures from both Maghreb and Mashriq. It argues that writers from across the region used Arabization contexts to critique a new postcolonial authoritarianism that had appropriated the discourse of anti-colonial Arab revolt and silenced the individual. In response, writers transformed written Arabic, bending it to express the material, the bodily, and the everyday. Of Other Languages demonstrates that these literary experiments sought to restore individual experience, local history, and radical dissent to the lexicon of public speech in the region and thereby to mobilize pluralist, secular trajectories for transnational politics after decolonization. Drawing on journals, novels, short stories, poetry, and translations from Morocco, Algeria, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria, Of Other Languages identifies a critical mode in Arabic literature that contests not only the content of propaganda, but the texture of language itself.
Anne-Marie is also an active researcher in contemporary Syrian literature, politics, and film, with recent publications that engage with prison literature, gender in the Syrian novel, translation, Arabic-Kurdish bilingualism, and, most recently, the sociopolitical context for the development of the "Syrian novel of the 1980s" between 2000 and 2011. Her translation work from post-2011 Syrian literature has recently been set to music (string quartet and voice) by UK-based composer Jonathan Dove.
She discusses her teaching on Syrian literature and culture at Washington University in St. Louis with Marcia Lynx Qualey on the blog "Arabic Literature in English" here:
Her essay on the Syrian author Mustafa Khalifa's prison memoir, al-Qawqa'a, can be found here:
Her translations from Arabic appear in the anthology Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline (Saqi Press, 2014), which won an English PEN Award. She has also translated from French literary essays by Abdellatif Laabi, which appear in Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics (Stanford University Press, 2016, eds. Olivia C. Harrison and Teresa Villa-Ignacio). 
Anne-Marie McManus received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2013 and was named Harbison Faculty Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis in 2014. You can follow her work on


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Washington University in St. Louis
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