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Visiting Professors in the Humanities

Academic year 2008-09 saw the inauguration of an exciting new program of Visiting Professors in the Humanities. The Cogut Center has selected four faculty members from other colleges or universities to come to Brown. Each Visiting Professor in the Humanities offered a Humanities (HMAN) course during their semester in residence, offering advanced undergraduates and graduate students new perspectives and opportunities for scholarly exploration.

2012 Spring Semester










Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab

Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab studied at the American University of Beirut philosophy, and continued her graduate studies at Fribourg University in Switzerland. Her dissertation on the theory of meaning in interpretative social sciences was published by the Editions Universitaires de Fribourg under the title The Theory of Social Action in the Schutz-Parsons Debate. She then spent 3 years as a post-doctorate fellow at the University of Bielefeld in Germany. She returned to Beirut in 1991 and taught for many years at the philosophy department in AUB, and later at Balamand University. In 1999 she was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to work on her research project at the New School University in New York. After that she was Visiting Scholar at Columbia University for several years and a Visiting Associate Professor at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies in 2006-2007. She was also an Arcapita Visiting Professor at the Middle East Institute of Columbia in the spring of 2008. Most recently she was a research fellow at the German Orient Institute in Beirut, then at Erfurt University in Germany, and currently at the Berlin Graduate School for Muslim Cultures and Societies of the Free University.

Her overall interest is the philosophy of culture, both Western and non-Western, with a particular focus on postcolonial debates on cultural malaise, authenticity and critique. Her latest book, Contemporary Arab Thought. Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective, published by Columbia University Press in the fall of 2009, is an examination of critical thinking in Arab and postcolonial (mainly African and Latin American) debates on culture in the second half of the twentieth century. Her current research centers on the notions of critique and enlightenment in these debates, especially among post-Ottoman Arab, Greek and Turkish intellectuals.

The Cogut Center was pleased to have this dynamic critical thinker in residence in the Spring semester 2012. She taught HMAN seminar Modern Arab Thought: The Arab Renaissance for graduate students and upper-level undergraduates.

Prof. Kassab's visiting professorship was part of the Brown in the World/The World at Brown grant funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.