Mohammed Muharram

Mohammed Muharram

Mohammed Muharram is a Yemeni researcher with expertise in postcolonial studies and the emerging field of the Blue Humanities with specific reference to Arabic literature and culture. Issues of water scarcity, economic inequality, and climate change in the Arab world and how these issues are represented in literature and culture is of prime interest to him.

After receiving his PhD in 2012 in Anglophone Postcolonial Studies from the English and Foreign Languages University (Hyderabad, India), Muharram worked as an Assistant Professor of English Literature at Thamar University (Yemen), where he also chaired the English Department at the Faculty of Education and directed the Thamar University English Language Center for Translation and TOEFL Preparation. He taught widely in many public and private universities in Yemen. He received a Harvard Certificate for an online seminar on World Literature and also obtained two TESOL Certificates from Arizona University.

Muharram’s postgraduate research has been funded by local and international scholarships and fellowships from Yemen, India, the US, Malaysia, and Germany. From Yemen, he was awarded the Yemeni government scholarship for higher studies to pursue his MA and PhD. From the government of India, Muharram received four awards: the Indian Council for Cultural Exchange (ICCR) to pursue an MA, the University Grants Commission (UGC) Junior Fellowship and the UGC Senior Fellowship (during his PhD), and the UGC Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2019, Muharram received the Scholar Rescue Fund fellowship of the Institute of International Education (IIE-SRF), which arranged for him a position of Visiting Assistant Professor of English Literature at Philadelphia University, Amman, Jordan. In 2020, he was awarded the UKM Postdoctoral Fellowship in Malaysia under IIE-SRF sponsorship, but the fellowship was not taken due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. In 2021, Muharram was awarded the prestigious Philipp Schwartz Initiative Fellowship sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bremen, where he is currently based.

In addition to research in the Blue Humanities, Muharram teaches courses at the University of Bremen, namely “Narratives of Ocean Cultures” and “Narratives of Sea Migration.” Interested in interdisciplinary and holistic approaches to research, Muharram is an associate member of Fiction Meets Science (Bremen-Oldenburg), the Science-Humanities Initiative (Cardiff University, UK), the Environmental Justice Humanities (Kiel), and Oceanic Humanities for the Global South. He is also a member of the New University in Exile Consortium, Academics in Solidarity, and Academics in Exile.

Muharram has published extensively in Arab postcolonial studies. His book, The Arab Writes Back: Orientalism, History, and the Canon (2021) and associated article that appeared in the Minnesota Review critiques the marginalization of Arabic fiction in seminal postcolonial textbooks and anthologies. Muharram has also published several scholarly articles on decolonizing the Arab and Muslim mind, the clash of civilizations, and Occidentalism. He is currently writing Situating Yemen in Postcolonial Studies (Edinburgh University Press).

His current work on postcolonial environmental humanities includes articles and chapters on Arabic Blue Humanities that deal with issues of migration, exile, ecofeminism, Yemen-Australian oceanic encounters, and the role of Yemeni Hadhramis in connecting Indian Ocean cultures.

Muharram coined the term “Blue Postcolonialism” at an international postcolonial conference organized by GAPS (the Postcolonial Studies Association) at the University of Constance. He is co-editing The Bloomsbury Handbook to the Blue Humanities with three co-editors: Prof. Steve Mentz, the scholar from St. John’s University, New York City, who coined the term “blue humanities;” Prof. Serpil Oppermann (Cappadocia University, Turkey), who recently published Blue Humanities (Cambridge University Press); and Prof. Sandra Young (University of Cape Town, South Africa). On his Twitter page, Muharram regularly shares the most up-to-date scholarship in the field of the Blue Humanities, postcolonial studies, and Arabic literature and culture.

Below are links to selected publications, research in progress, and social media pages.

Selected Publications

  1. The Arab Writes Back: History, Orientalism, and the Canon. LAP LAMBERT. 2022.
  2. (with Areen Khalifeh) “Writing Back to the Self: Leila Aboulela’s Minaret and Fadia Faqir’s My Name Is Salma,” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 62, 3 (2021): 1–17. 
  3. The Marginalization of Arabic Fiction in the Postcolonial and World English Curriculum: Slips? Or Orientalism and Racism? Minnesota Review 78, 1 (2012): 130-145. Project MUSE. Web. (Duke University Press). 
  4. "Linguistic Representationability of the Self and the Other: Can the Arab Speak?" GAI International Academic Conference Proceedings, Online (USA), Global Academic Institute, 1, 1 (2020): 5-21.
  5. Contemporary Dangers of Huntington's Travesty of ‘History’: A Postcolonial Deconstructionist Response and Proposed Solution, Faculty of Arts Journal (Thamar University) 13 (2019): 28-46. 
  6. Decolonizing the Arab-Muslim Mind: A Call for a Postcolonial Provincializing Response to Modernity, The National University Journal 9 (2019): 45-54. 
  7. "Challenging the Center: Writing Back to the Canon with Specific Reference to Tayeb Saleh’s Season of Migration to the North and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness," The Yemen Academy Journal 1, 1 (2018): 198-208. 
  8. Beyond the ‘Misleading’ Google: An Annotated Compilation of Hidden’ Academic Databases for Language Research Writers, The National University Journal 5 (2017): 283-296. 
  9. Occidentalism/ Orientalism in Reverse: The West in the Eyes of Modern Arab Intellectuals, JAST (Journal of American Studies in Turkey) 39 (2014): 31-55. 
  10. Resisting the Epistemic Violence of Orientalist Translation: Defining 'Arab' from an Arab Perspective,Middle East Panorama 1, 1 (2011): 59-71. Print.

Under Review

  1. (Book, Co-editor): The Bloomsbury Handbook to the Blue Humanities
  2. (Book, Author): Situating Yemen in Postcolonial Studies (Edinburgh University Press)
  3. (Chapter) “Teaching the Blue Humanities” in Toward Bluer Humanities: Oceanic Meditations in Art, Literature and Culture (Oxford University Press India).
  4. (Chapter) “An Exiled Yemeni Scholar in Western Academia: Perils and Promises” in Exiled Scholars in Western Academia: Refugees or Intellectuals? (Liverpool University Press) (Migrations and Identities Series).   
  5. (Chapter) “Centering the Peripheries, Transcending Boundaries: Arab-Australian Oceanic Encounters through the Comparative Lens of Fiction on Yemen” in Spheres of Interaction: A Handbook of Global Oceanic Encounters (Palgrave Macmillan).
  6. (Chapter) “Unveiling the Unseen in the Publishing Industry: The Potential of Postcolonial Arabic Fiction in a Western-Dominated Literary Sphere” for a Bloomsbury collection under the series Literature, Culture and Identity.
  7. (Article) “Post-Apocalyptic Survival in Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven” in Coming to Terms with a Crisis: Cultural Engagements with COVID-19 (Columbia University Press).
  8. (Article) “Arabia Felix Revisited: Traces of Ecofeminism in Contemporary Yemeni Literature” in Modernist Feminist Studies (Routledge Taylor & Francis).

Webpage at University of Bremen