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Mary Youssef

Mary Youssef

Associate Professor of Arabic

Contact Information

Office:  LT 513




PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison.

MA, University of Wisconsin - Madison.

BA, Cairo University.

Research Interests

Professor Youssef's research focuses on examining questions of identity, nationalism, belonging, gender, marginalization, and migration in the modern Arabic novel as well as in contemporary Arab-immigrant and Arab-American novels.

Research Areas

Modern and Contemporary Arabic Literature, Postcolonial Studies, World Literature, Genre Studies, Migration Studies, Gender Studies, Arab Women's Writing, African Literature.



Minorities in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel. Edinburgh University Press, 2018.

Book Summaries

Minorities in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel identifies the emergence of a new consciousness within the twenty-first-century Egyptian novel that presents Egypt as fundamentally heterogeneous. During colonial times the Egyptian novel invoked a sovereign nation-state and basked in its perceived unity. After independence the novel began to profess disenchantment with state practices and unequal class and gender relations, but did not disrupt the nation's imagined homogeneity. The "new consciousness" Egyptian novel, by contrast, shatters this singular view and responds to discourses of difference and practices of differentiation within the contexts of race, religion, class, gender, sexuality and language. It also heralds the cacophony of voices that collectively cried for social justice from Tahrir Square. Through a robust analysis of several 'new-consciousness' novels by award winning authors the book highlights their unconventional, yet coherent undertakings to foreground the marginal experiences of the Nubian, Amazigh, Bedouin, Coptic, Jewish, women and sexual minority populations in Egypt.


"The Aesthetics of Difference: History and Representations of Otherness in al-Nubi and Wahat al-ghurub." Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics: New Paradigms in the Study of Modern Middle Eastern Literature. No. 35, 2015: 75-99.

Book Reviews

Review of Urban Space in Contemporary Egyptian Literature: Portraits of Cairo by
Mara Naaman. International Journal of Islamic Architecture. 3.1. 2014: 201-4.


Fall 2016: The Dr. Nuala Drescher Research Leave Award, New York State and United University Professions Joint Labor-Management Committees.

Courses Taught:

Race and Gender in Arab-American Literature, The Postcolonial Arabic Novel, Dissent in Arabic Literature, Arabic Literary Transformations, Contemporary Issues in Arabic, Arabic 101, 102, 203, 204, 305, 306, and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic I & II.

Last Updated: 1/4/19