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College of Arts and Sciences

Assistant Professor speaks at "Reshaping the Landscapes of Arab Thought"  

Youssef Yacoubi at 2019 Gibran Conference Maryland UniversityYoussef Yacoubi, director of Arabic Studies and co-director of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, was elected to speak at the prestigious symposium "Reshaping the Landscapes of Arab Thought" at Maryland University.

The event was held on March 27, 2019, by the George and Lisa Zakhem Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace. The 10 scholars in the field of Arab-American studies and the Middle East were selected to focus on the impact of the Lebanese-American literature of "Adab al-Mahjar" on current transformations taking place in the Arab World. The day featured a full day of presentations from 10 universities worldwide about Gibran, Rihani and Naimy, followed by a reception and gallery exhibit.

Yacoubi presented new work on "'Prophetic Criticism' in Ameen Rihani's Thought: The Parallax for a Post-Orientalist Theology." His intervention is a re-reading of the first Arab-American novel published in 1911 in English, "The Book of Khalid." Yacoubi suggests that the novel is a prophetic imaginative geography that carries a name for an alternative post-theological relationship between America and the Arab world. Here, the prophet Khalid is reconstructed as a historical figure who must deliver the prophetic message of multiple criticisms under particular historical circumstances of migration, displacement and constant shifting of cultural representations. From the Book of Khalid, one can understand Rihani's own project of liberation of the "oriental" and the "occidental" in terms of prophetic practices of "genuine" and constant virtues of freedom and human dignity.

The proceedings of the conference will be published the end of 2019 by the Gibran Chair at Maryland University. Visit the Kahlil Gibran Chair for Values and Peace webpage for more information »