Sultan Qaboos bin Said Professorial Chair of Middle East Studies (on leave for 2023-24)
Washington Hall 236
Phone: (757) 221-2442
Stephen Sheehi (MA, PhD, Michigan, he/him/his) is the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Chair of Middle East Studies. He holds a joint appointment as Professor of Arabic Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Program of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) as well as a core member of the Asian and Pacific-Islander American Studies Program (APIA). He is also the Faculty Director of the Decolonizing Humanities Project.
Prof. Sheehi’s work meets at the intersection of cultural, visual, art, and social history of the modern Arab world, starting with the late Ottoman Empire and the Arab Renaissance (al-nahdah al-‘arabiyah). His scholarly interests include photography theory, psychoanalysis, decoloniality, Palestine, and Race and Islamophobia.
He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and commentaries on photography, Arab modernity, decoloniality, race and Islamophobia in the United State, and Palestine, Israel, and settler-colonialism. He has published three books:
The Arab Imago: A Social History of Indigenous Photography 1860-1910 (Princeton University Press, 2016) investigates the relationship between indigenous photography, social transformations and the creation of modern Arab society in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine before World War One.
Islamophobia: The Ideological Campaign Against Muslims (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2011) examines the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiments in the West following the end of the Cold War. (The book has been translated into Arabic as al-Islamufobia: al-Hamlah al-idiulujiyah dud al-Muslimin translation by Fatimah Nasr (Cairo: Dar al-Sutour, 2012).
His first book, Foundations of Modern Arab Identity (University of Florida, 2004) examines how intellectuals of the “Arab Renaissance” or al-nahdah al-`arabiyah articulated new forms of Arab subjectivity within the context of epistemological shifts that would constitute Arab modernity.
Currently, Prof. Sheehi and Dr. Lara Sheehi are writing Psychoanalysis under Occupation (forthcoming, Routledge), which is an exploration of the intersubjective experience of Palestinians living under violent and violating Israeli occupation. Some preliminary work from this project has been published in Psychoanalysis and History, Psychoanalytic Perspective, and Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, which won the Gradiva Award for best 2016 article on psychoanalysis.
Prof. Sheehi along with Salim Tamari and Issam Nassar are writing Camera Palaestina: The Seven Photography Albums of Wasif Jawhariyyeh (University of California Press, forthcoming), which reconsiders the relationship between the Palestinian identity, history, and society in relations to the photographic archive.
Prof. Sheehi’s current projects also include Decolonizing Photography: Theft, Forgery, and Seizing Photography (in progress) and The People’s History of the Maronites (in progress).
He is also a board member of the USA-Palestine Mental Health Network, Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World, Milestones: Commentary on the Islamic World, and the new journal, Regards – Revue des arts du spectacle.