Gender toxicity’s dirty secrets

When I was waiting to get my first dose of the Sinopharm (Chinese) Covid-19 vaccine at the clinic in Maadi tasked with hosting vaccine distribution by the Egyptian Ministry of Health (a task the clinic must have regarded, judging from its neglected appearance and the unhappy crowd packed into its outdoor waiting area, as unwelcome–thoughContinue reading “Gender toxicity’s dirty secrets”

Domination and Dominion: Masculinity as Conquest of Women and Nature (by Nina Lee)

Nina Lee, the author of this essay, is a Master’s Student in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at The American University in Cairo, where she currently lives. She was raised in Jacksonville, Florida, where she studied French and Spanish Literature. Her academic interests include anti-colonialism, gender studies, ecofeminism, anti-racism, generational trauma, and popularContinue reading “Domination and Dominion: Masculinity as Conquest of Women and Nature (by Nina Lee)”

Becoming Aristophanes

[Edited June 10 2021] Aristophanes, the greatest comic dramatist of ancient Greece, was born in the Athenian deme of Kydathenaion sometime in the 440’s BCE. Below is a map of Attica, with Kydathenaion circled: The deme was the smallest, most local administrative unit in the Athenian government; it was the place one called home. ThereContinue reading “Becoming Aristophanes”

Ten theses on why Aristophanes matters

“Aristophanes” is one of those ancient Greek names that is for many people I meet vaguely familiar but hard to place…you know you’ve heard it somewhere, probably read a thing or two he wrote, but what exactly? In future posts I will look in detail at who Aristophanes was, when and where he lived, andContinue reading “Ten theses on why Aristophanes matters”

On struggling to learn Arabic

When you’re learning a new language, you must associate everything in your world of experience, knowledge, and imagination–every object, every historical event, every fantastic creature–with unfamiliar sounds and visual signs. When you learn a new language with a close historical connection to your native tongue(s), most of the new sounds and signs are at leastContinue reading “On struggling to learn Arabic”

On failing at marriage

As I finalize the paperwork for my second divorce (only 7 months after I started it–how time flies when you procrastinate!), I think about something my therapist in New York City told me last summer as we discussed this possibility: “A relationship isn’t a failure just because it ends.” I’ve thought about that a lotContinue reading “On failing at marriage”

On reading ancient Quests ecocritically

The Quest is one of the most common plot forms through which storytelling imagines relationships between human and nonhuman beings. Nonhumans most often appear in storytelling generally as an ‘environment’ surrounding and subordinate to the more important human characters, a nonhuman background to the human foreground. Yet in the Quest nonhumans enter the foreground inContinue reading “On reading ancient Quests ecocritically”

On queer Martians (by Ruby Trujillo)

Recently a former student sent me an email with the subject line “Hello… and some thoughts about Martians“. Last year she took my course on “Antiquity in Science Fiction”; we also did an independent study course on “Queer Ecology and Petronius’ Satyricon” in which we read Lee Edelman’s No Future. Her thoughts about Martians combinedContinue reading “On queer Martians (by Ruby Trujillo)”

On voices from the past

Recently I attended a wonderful online event associated with the exhibition A Slightly Curving Space at the Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt in Berlin, curated by Nida Ghouse and inspired by the work of acoustic archaeologist Umashankar Manthravadi. I was unfamiliar with the concept of acoustic archaeology before attending this event, but not, it turnsContinue reading “On voices from the past”

On catastrophe, the Arabic alphabet, and gratitude

Recently I flew from Alabama to Egypt to begin my job as Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the American University in Cairo. This was my first time on a plane since March, when I flew to Egypt to interview for the job. At that time the world was justContinue reading “On catastrophe, the Arabic alphabet, and gratitude”