Arabic program fills two positions

April 13, 2016 by Emma Zehner, Executive Editor

The Arabic Program has hired two assistant professors to fill the tenure-track positions starting in fall 2016.

Amal Eqeiq, who has worked at the College for three years as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic, will fill one of the positions. While at the College, she has organized for several speakers and films to come to campus. She has also led a Winter Study travel course in Chiapas, Mexico called “Borderlands, Migration and Indigenous Cultures.”

“This is an exciting new chapter for Arabic Studies at Williams College and I am thrilled to be part of this program that already has a strong foundation in modern and comparative approaches to Arabic Studies, built and fostered by my former colleagues Mara Naaman and Armando Vargas,” Eqeiq said.

“My vision for Arabic Studies is anchored in three words: comparative, interdisciplinary and global,” she said. “I am eager to offer new courses on contemporary issues and topics that capture the rich complexity of everyday life in the Arab world in addition to the ancient intellectual history of the modern Arab world and Arab people in the diaspora.

“A particularly exciting thing about Professor Eqeiq’s work is its comparative dimension; she works on connections between the Arab World and Latin America, especially Mexico. Most recently, she has been working on indigenous cultures in both areas,” Gail Newman, coordinator of the Arabic Program and Harold J. Henry professor of German, said.

Before coming to Williams, Eqeiq received her Master’s in English from Tel Aviv University and her Master’s in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon. In 2013, she received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington. This semester, she is teaching Intermediate Arabic II and “Comparative Postcolonial Narratives: Novels from the Arab World, Latin-America and the Caribbean.”

The College has also hired Lama Nassif. Nassif has worked as a teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her doctorate in Foreign Education and as an assistant professor at Middlebury. She also earned her Master’s in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in 2007.

In addition to teaching Arabic language courses, Nassif will offer a linguistics course, “Second Language Learning: The Learner, the Classroom, and the Social World.” The class will be taught in English.

“The pool of applicants was unusually large, excellent and diverse in the specializations of the candidates,” Newman said. “Our two hires rose to the top for lots of reasons.”

The College instated two tenure-track positions in the Arabic Program in 2006. Eqeiq and Nassif will replace Armando Vargas and Mara Naaman, who formerly filled these roles. Kirsten Beck, a visiting professor, will also continue to work in the department next year.

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