Dear AASA Members:
Below are short biographies and vision statements from each of the candidates running for positions on the Arab American Studies Association (AASA) Executive Board.
There is one candidate running for the position of Secretary, two for the position of Web Coordinator, three the position of Member at large, and one for the position of President elect. Their names, bios, and vision statements for the association are provided below.
Those with the most votes will assume their new posts at the end of the AASA Executive Board Meeting on November 17, 2016 at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) annual meeting in Boston.
Only current AASA members are eligible to vote. Each member will be sent an email link to a Survey Monkey page that will allow the member to vote for each of the available positions. Those with the most votes will be invited to join the board. In the event of a tie, we will have a second round of voting to resolve the tie. Voting will close on Thursday, October. 27, 2016, at 5:00 pm.
If you have any questions, please contact Sally Howell, AASA Secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the position of Secretary
Kristine J. Ajrouch
- Bio: Kristine J. Ajrouch, PhD is Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University. She is also Adjunct Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Her research has focused, for over twenty years, on Arab Americans in the U.S. beginning with ethnic identity formation among adolescent children of immigrants followed by a focus on aging from the perspective of older adults in the metro-Detroit Arab-American and Muslim communities. A core area of study concerns links between social networks and health with focused attention to how stratification and immigration influence network form and function. She recently initiated a program of study concerning the topic of family ties, aging and health in Beirut, Lebanon following a Fulbright award in 2008. Professor Ajrouch also studies the topics of forgiveness and immigrant integration in comparative perspective. She currently serves as President of the Society for the Study of Human Development, and works on projects that enhance global awareness and promote cross-cultural understanding.
- Vision Statement: The Arab American Studies Association is a critical organization for scholars who study the Arab American experience. It provides a valuable intellectual and social space for both senior and emerging scholars to meet, share and advance Arab American research from multiple perspectives and disciplines. I aim to support and expand the networking benefits of having such an organization, and ensure that the field grows and develops by fostering activities that promote scholarship and enable interactions between senior and junior researchers. The interdisciplinary character of the organization is an enormous strength that we can capitalize on to promote a more nuanced understanding of topics and issues important to the Arab American experience.
For the position of Webmaster
- Bio: Rebecca Karam is a doctoral candidate in sociology and student fellow in the Committee for the Study of Religion at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. She received her BA in sociology from University of Michigan-Dearborn. Rebecca is currently working on her dissertation entitled “Making Muslim Americans: Parenting Practices, Parochial Schools, and the Transmission of Faith Across Generations in Metropolitan Detroit.”
- Vision Statement: The Arab American Studies Association is an incredible, interdisciplinary space for scholars and other people interested in the study of Arab American life to interact and learn. As web manager, I am excited to continue this legacy and promote the next generation of scholars’ participation in AAS. In particular, I think digital strategies are an important aspect of reaching out to new audiences and, if elected, this is a new area I will pursue on behalf of the AAS.
- Bio: Rachel Norman is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where I research multilingualism in Arab North American literature in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. I have presented my work at conferences held by the Modern Languages Association, the South Atlantic Modern Languages Association, the Arab American Studies Association, the Middle Eastern Studies Association, and the Carolina Conference for Romance Languages. My most recent publication appeared this year in the South Atlantic Review, and I have a forthcoming entry in the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. I spent last year in Spain as a visiting lecturer and fellow in the Department of British and American Literature at the University of Seville, and I am currently working on designing an introductory course on Arab American literature that will be offered in the spring at UNC.
Vision Statement: As web manager, my primary goal would be to continue the impressive work Umayyah Cable has done to create a strong online presence for AASA. The upgrade and migration of the website to a new platform resulted in a more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing website, and I hope to continue growing the website as a central source of information for our members. Like many of our members, I am at an institution that lacks a community of scholars working in the field of Arab American Studies, and the institutional and intellectual support of AASA has been indispensable to me. I would like to see AASA continue to grow as a scholarly community as we work to advance the burgeoning field of Arab American Studies, and I see our website and social media presence as integral to keeping that community connected.
For the position of Member at large:
Charlotte Karem Albrecht
- Bio: Charlotte Karem Albrecht is an assistant professor of American Culture and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, where she is also a faculty member for the Arab and Muslim American Studies program. Her research interests include Arab American history, feminist theory, queer of color critique, critical ethnic studies, and interdisciplinary methods. She is also chair of the board of directors for Mizna.
- Vision Statement: I am proud to be a member of the AASA and I am excited about the possibility to contribute more to our organization. In addition to maintaining our conference schedule and participation at MESA and ASA, I am interested in increasing our reach and membership, particularly with scholars in the social sciences and those who might be primarily oriented in Muslim American studies. I am also interested in creating more opportunities for mentorship for graduate students, job seekers, and junior faculty.
- Bio: Carol Fadda is Associate Professor of English at Syracuse University. She attended the American University of Beirut for her BA and MA, after which she went on to receive her PhD in English from Purdue University. She focuses in her research and teaching on Arab and Arab American literatures and cultures, critical race and ethnic studies, gender and sexuality, and transnational and diaspora studies. She is the author of Contemporary Arab American Literature: Transnational Reconfigurations of Home and Belonging (NYU Press, 2014), and is a recipient of an NEH summer grant and a Future of Minority Studies Fellowship. Her essays have appeared in a variety of journals, including MELUS, Modern Fiction Studies, and College Literature, as well as in the edited collections Arabs in the Americas (2006), Arab Women’s Lives Retold (2007), Arab Voices in Diaspora (2009), and The Oxford Handbook of the Arabic Novel (2015). Her new book project explores discursive formations of US minority citizenships that challenge racial, ethnic, and religious divides within the US, and at the same time re-imagine transnational solidarities with anti-imperialist struggles in the Arab world.
- Vision Statement: The AASA is a major testament to how much Arab American Studies has grown and developed as a field. I am very invested in building on the strength and visibility of the association across a variety of disciplinary fields, academic institutions, and community organizations, both nationally and transnationally. The support and mentorship of fellow scholars in Arab American Studies has been essential to me over the years, and it would be wonderful to give back by formalizing lines of mentorship through the AASA. Moreover, with more and more institutional attention and academic space being given to Arab American Studies and Arab diaspora studies, the AASA is a crucial venue for mapping and shaping the field’s future directions. As a member at large, I would be keen on pursuing ways to extend such field-forming conversations into a variety of venues (at national and international conferences, workshops, symposia, community events, etc.) so that the work of AASA members could gain more visibility and prominence.
Keith P. Feldman
- Bio: Keith P. Feldman is currently Assistant Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. He is the author of A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (Minnesota 2015), as well as numerous articles on Arab American literature and culture in comparative and transnational frames. He is the editor of a forum on “Blackness and Relationality” for Comparative Literature (June 2016), and a special issue of race, religion, and war, for Social Text (December 2016). A university educator with over 15 years’ experience, Feldman combines a broad research program with a passion for teaching and service. Feldman received his BA from Brown University, his MA from the George Washington University, and his PhD from the University of Washington.
- Vision Statement: As someone who began working in Arab American Studies in 2001, and has continued to be an active contributor to the field’s research and teaching, it is a real honor to be considered for a position as a Member-at-Large of the AASA’s Board of Directors. The scope, importance, and impact of Arab American Studies has grown remarkably over the last fifteen years, with no abatement in sight, even as institutional resources to sustain its growth have been sparse and unpredictable.
- Arab American Studies continues to thicken its longstanding interest in localized questions of immigration and labor, language and religion, gender and citizenship, popular culture and historical memory. At the same time, the field continues to solidify its linkages to institutionally-adjacent interdisciplinary domains—Black Studies, Asian American Studies, Jewish Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, Indigenous Studies among them—while linking the local to the regional and the transnational. These are not (or need not be) contrary developments, but are mutually beneficial ones, producing incisive new questions about the work we do: about law, sovereignty, and the state; about patterns and innovations in gendered racialization, embodiment, and affect; about the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, trans-Mediterranean, and Hemispheric American contexts of Arab cultures, histories, and communities, etc. Our knowledge is all the more necessary for a moment wrought by regional wars and the world-historical forms of displacement that accompany them, raising pressing issues about the histories and futures of a diaspora whose conditions have come to define the early 21st century. The organizational importance of AASA is undeniable, especially in a scholarly environment that, with very rare exception, disperses research and teaching in these areas across departments and units. The AASA is well-positioned to deepen its work as a hub to provide institutional support, networks of colleagues, partners, and resources, and opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and publication. As someone with experience within the ASA and the MLA, I look forward to the opportunity to work towards growing the AASA’s organizational capacity in ways that best meet the needs of its members and the fields within which we work.
For the position of President Elect
- Bio: Sally Howell is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She received her Ph.D. from the Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan in 2009. Her books include Citizenship and Crisis (2009, Russell Sage Foundation Press), co-authored with Wayne Baker, et al.; Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade (2011, Wayne State University Press), edited with Nabeel Abraham and Andrew Shryock; and Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past (2014, Oxford University Press). Old Islam in Detroit was named a Michigan Notable Book of 2015 by the Library of Michigan and awarded the 2015 Evelyn Shakir Award for non-fiction by the Arab American National Museum. Her current research explores the relationship between mosques, markets, and community development in Michigan and the mutual constitution of local publics and religious minorities across the urban and suburban landscape.
- Vision Statement: The main job of the AASA should be to facilitate research and the dissemination of research on Arab Americans. It can do this by providing opportunities for scholars to network and collaborate across disciplines, institutions, historical time periods, academic rank, and research subject. In particular, we need to provide forums that bring together scholars working at the local or regional level with one another to share resources and ideas, to connect this research with the projects of scholars working at the national or transnational level, and to facilitate partnerships with others working in American studies, critical ethnic studies and Muslim American studies. We can do a better job of sharing our research, publications, and other opportunities (especially funding opportunities) with one another and of making the expertise of our members more visible to the public at large. Now that we have several academic programs dedicated to Arab American and Arab diaspora scholarship, several archives that preserve the past, a museum, a journal, and an academic association, we need to invest in helping each of these institutions thrive in their individual missions and collaborate across their differences.