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Sinan Antoon

Sinan Antoon

Associate Professor
B.A., University of Baghdad, 1990
M.A.A.S., Georgetown University, 1995
Ph.D. Arabic and Islamic Studies, Harvard University, 2006

Sinan Antoon’s teaching and research interests lie in pre-modern and modern Arabic literature and contemporary Arab culture and politics. His scholarly works include The Poetics of the Obscene: Ibn al-Hajjaj and Sukhf (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014) and numerous essays on the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, Sargon Boulus and on contemporary Iraqi culture. His essays and creative writings in Arabic have appeared in major journals and publications in the Arab world and in New York Times , Aljazeera.net , The Nation , Middle East Report , Journal of Palestine Studies , Journal of Arabic Literature , The Massachusetts Review, World Literature Today , Ploughshares , and Washington Square Journal.  He has published two collections of poetry in Arabic and one collection in English: The Baghdad Blues (Harbor Mountain Press, 2007).   He has published three novels: I`jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody (City Lights, 2007) which has appeared in German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Italian editions, Wahdaha Shajarat al-Rumman (Beirut, 2010) whose English translation was published as The Corpse Washer  (Yale University Press. 2013), and Ya Maryam (Beirut: Dar al-Jamal, 2012), which is forthcoming in Spanish from Turner Libros. His translations from the Arabic include Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence  (Archipelago, 2011) and a selection of Iraqi poet Saadi Youssef’s late work,  Nostalgia; My Enemy  (Graywolf, 2012).   His translation of Toni Morrison’s  Home is forthcoming in Arabic in 2014. Antoon returned to his native Baghdad in 2003 as a member of InCounter Productions to co-direct a documentary, About Baghdad, about the lives of Iraqis in a post-Saddam-occupied Iraq. In 2009, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the EUME Program at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Arab Studies Journal and co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya. In spring 2013 he was a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin .   


Professor Sinan Antoon received the 2014 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for his translation of his own novel The Corpse Washer, published by Yale University Press. He was long listed for the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for best translated fiction. The Spanish translation of his work Ave Maria, translated by Maria Luz Commedado, was released from Turner Libros in 2014. He was the Distinguished Visiting Creative Writer at the American University in Cairo in March 2014. He presented “Translation as Mourning” and “Topophilia and Violence” for the Cairo Translation Series at American University in Cairo. He was the keynote speaker at the “Middle Eastern Literatures in the 21st Century” conference at Harvard University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where he delivered the April 2014 lecture “The Arabic Novel in the 21st Century: Writing Against the Political Maelstrom.”  The Spanish translation of Sinan Antoon’s novel, Ave Maria, was published by Turner Libros in May 2014. On March 2, 2015, Antoon was profiled in The Guardian article "Sinan Antoon: an Iraqi novelist living in continuous mourning."


Contact Information

Sinan Antoon

Associate Professor
1 Wash Pl, Room 510
(212) 998-7336
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2015 Summer

Arab Cinema(s)
Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM

2015 Fall

The Qur'an
Tue 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

The Poetics and Politics of Mourning
Wed 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM

2014 Spring

The Arabian Nights
Mon 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM

The Modern Arabic Novel
Tue 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM

Research and Teaching Interests

pre-modern Arabo-Islamic culture; classical and modern Arabic poetry; the Arabic novel; gender and sexuality; postcolonial theory; contemporary Arab culture and politics

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New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
1 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-7370