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Michael Allan

Office: 316 Villard
Office Hours: See Directory

Phone: 541-346-0981
E-mail:mallan@uoregon.edu

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Michael Allan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature

Profile

Professor Michael AllanMichael Allan is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature. His research focuses on debates in world literature, postcolonial studies, literary theory, film and visual culture, and the history of reading, primarily in Africa and the Middle East. In both his research and teaching, he bridges textual analysis with social theory, and draws from methods in anthropology, gender studies, queer theory, religion, and area studies. He is the author of In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton 2016) and of articles in venues such as Comparative Literature Studies, Early Popular Visual Culture, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, and the Journal of Arabic Literature. He is also a guest editor of a special issue of Comparative Literature ("Reading Secularism: Religion, Literature, Aesthetics"), and with Elisabetta Benigni, a forthcoming issue of Philological Encounters ("Lingua Franca: Toward a Philology of the Sea").

His first book, In the Shadow of World Literature, examines the shift from Qur'anic schooling to secular education in colonial Egypt and shows how an emergent literary discipline transforms the act of reading. Looking at various sites of reception—from the Rosetta stone and translations of the Qur'an to debates about Charles Darwin in the modern Arabic novel—the six chapters investigate the ethical capacities and sensibilities literary reading requires, the conceptions of textuality and critique it institutionalizes, and the forms of subjectivity it authorizes. As an exploration of what it means to be literate in the modern world, the book reflects critically on the reading practices that define the contours of world literature.

He is currently writing a second book, Picturing the World: The Global Routes of Early Cinema, 1896-1903, which traces the transnational history of camera operators working for the Lumière Brothers film company. Drawing from sources in French, Arabic and English, the book explores the global dissemination of the cinematograph and focuses in particular on Alexandre Promio's journey across North Africa and the Middle East. Tracking the sites of this journey, the chapters contrast local reactions to early films with other media forms, including David Roberts' lithographs in Egypt and Palestine, and William Henry Jackson's photographs of Algiers. The book thus offers both a transnational history of the Lumière Brothers film company as well as a transmedial comparison attuned to the theoretical stakes of early cinema.

Michael holds his Ph.D. from the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked under the direction of Judith Butler and Karl Britto. Before joining the faculty at the University of Oregon, he was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University (2008-9). He has also been a EUME Fellow at the Forum for Transregional Studies in Berlin (2011-12), a Townsend Fellow at the Townsend Center for the Humanities in Berkeley (2006-7), and a Presidential Intern at the American University in Cairo, where he worked with its Institute of Gender and Women's Studies (2000-1). For two summers (2011-12), he served as the site director for the CLS Arabic Program in Tangier, Morocco. He is currently a member of the collegium for the research project Zukunftsphilologie in Berlin and of the Re-Configurations network at the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies at Phillips University in Marburg.

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Education

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Selected Publications

For downloadable articles: (https://uoregon.academia.edu/MichaelAllan)

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Recent Courses

COLT 103 Introduction to Comparative Literature III: "Thinking Through Images: Photography, Film, and Video" (Spring 2010)

COLT 461/561 Studies in Comtemporary Theory "Colonialism and Post-Colonial Theory" (Winter 2011)

COLT 462/562 Cultural Intersections "Orientalism: Politics, Sexuality and Religion" (Fall 2009)

COLT 470/570 Studies in Identity: "Multiculturalism: Representation and Recognition" (Winter 2010)

COLT 614 Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature: "Comparative Literature and its Histories" (Winter 2011)

COLT 615 Comparative Literature Theory: "What's in a Wor(l)d? Transnationalism and Literary Theory" (Winter 2010)

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