Nahrain Al-Mousawi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Comparative Humanities
School Of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


  • M.A. Middle Eastern Studies/Arabic Studies, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN

Teaching Experience:

  • Assistant Professor, English Literature, University of Balamand, Lebanon
  • Postdoctoral Fellow of Modern Arabic Literature & Culture & Visiting Faculty, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
  • Teaching Fellow, Comparative Literature, University of California, Los Angeles

Courses Taught:

Undergraduate – Literature & Writing

  • Postcolonial Literature of Migration, Exile, & Diaspora
  • Introduction to Literary & Critical Theory
  • Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature
  • Undocumented: Arab & Afro-Arab Migrant Narratives
  • English Composition

Graduate – Literature

  • Undocumented
  • Postcolonial Literature & Theory
  • Transnational Literature & Criticism

Research Interests:

  • world literature
  • Arabic & Anglophone literature of the Middle East & Africa
  • postcolonial studies
  • transnational studies


Nahrain Al-Mousawi received her PhD from UCLA in Comparative Literature, with a focus on Arabic and English literature, as well as postcolonial and transnational literature and criticism. She has postdoc’d and taught at universities in the US, Germany, Lebanon, and now Pakistan.

Her book The Two-Edged Sea (2021) explores narratives of undocumented migration from Africa across the Mediterranean. Beyond academia, she has written on popular and literary culture from the MENA region and has had her work published in Al Jazeera, The National, Globe and Mail, and Chicago Tribune, among other publications.

Selected Awards and Accomplishments:

  • Modern Arabic Literature & Culture Postdoctoral Fellowship, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
  • EUME Postdoctoral Fellowship, Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures, Freie Universtät Berlin

Selected Publications:


  1. The Two-Edged Sea: Heterotopias of Contemporary Mediterranean Migrant Literature (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2021).

Articles/Book Chapters:

  1. “Mediterranean Divides?”, Companion to Migration Literature, eds Gigi Adair,Rebecca Fasselt, & Carly McLaughlin (New York: Routledge) [Forthcoming: Winter 2023]
  2. “An Estranging Labor: Gulf Capital & the Fantastical in Temporary People,” Narratives of Precarious Migration in the Global South, eds Gigi Adair & Carly McLaughlin (New York: Routledge) [Forthcoming: Winter 2023]
  3. “Death at the Border: Making & Unmaking the Migrating Body”, Forum Transregionale Studien Essay Series 2016, no. 2 (Fall 2016)
  4. “Aesthetics of Migration: Street Art in Mediterranean Border Zones,” Logoi: Journal of Philosophy (Rivista di filosofia), English & Italian (Summer 2016)
  5. “Securing the Self from Security,” Emancipatory Series, DPR Barcelona Books (Spring 2014)
  6. “The Diamond Pipeline: Africa & the Arab World”, Postcolonial Text 7, no. 2 (Summer 2012)
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