Terri L. DeYoung (she/her/hers)

Terri Deyoung

Contact Information

Denny 246
Office Hours
By appointment


Ph.D., 1988, UC Berkeley
M.A., 1981 American University in Cairo
B.A. cum laude, 1977 Princeton University
Curriculum Vitae (135.5 KB)

 My interests focused initially on modernism and its adaptation into Arabic literature, which resulted in my first monograph (based loosely on a chapter from my dissertation) Placing the Poet: Badr Shāqir al-Sayyāb and Postcolonial Iraq. Sayyāb was one of the pioneers in this field. Then (following up on my early training at Princeton) I turned my attention to questions of rhetoric in Islamic culture. This resulted in the publication of several articles on how medieval rhetorical tropes were adapted by modern Arabic poets.  Later, I also pursued an interest in philosophy, and particularly ethics, in medieval Islamic culture. All this led to my recent work with Professor Issa Boullata of McGill University in translating two volumes of the medieval encyclopedia Al-‘Iqd al-Farīd (The Unique Necklace) by the tenth-century Andalusian courtier and poet Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih. Our combined fascination with the art of rhetoric eventually led to our translation of the classic works on Quranic rhetoric (i‘jāz) by the medieval Arab authors al-Khaṭṭābī, al-Rummānī and ‘Abd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī.

 In the last decade or so I have returned to the question of literary periodization and how it is influenced by cultural factors. I decided that, to understand how modernism  was shaped in the twentieth century in the Arab world, I needed to explore the work of earlier writers who thought of themselves as modern. This led to my monograph on the influential nineteenth-century statesman and poet Maḥmūd Sāmī al-Bārūdī, who is considered by many to be the first modern Arab poet. I am writing about his disciple, the Lebanese Egyptian poet and journalist Khalīl Muṭrān, who was deeply influenced by French Romanticism and pioneered the development of Arabic epic poetry. 

My most abiding literary critical interests now include the structures of literary influence and the hybrid potential of adaptation as reflected in the work of poets as members of literary movements, alongside the exploration of the nature of European colonialism in the Arab world and how it has affected the position of the subaltern as intellectual. I have certainly found the inevitable oscillation between the medieval and modern (as a professor in a field who must teach a variety of courses) an enabling, rather than a restrictive, factor in my work.

A key component in developing my scholarly interests has been the work of the students whose projects I have supervised over the years. This collaboration has contributed in unexpected ways to  my knowledge about so many subjects that are a dynamic part of my field.


Selected Research

Courses Taught

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Professional Affiliations
Middle East Studies Association, American Comparative Literature Association

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