Sam Liebhaber is an Associate Professor of Arabic at Middlebury College. He received his M.A. degree in Comparative Semitics (2000) and his Ph.D. in Arabic Literature from the University of California, Berkeley (2007). Alongside teaching Arabic language courses covering four years of Arabic proficiency, Dr. Liebhaber teaches courses on Arabic literature and world literature. Dr. Liebhaber has undertaken several extended periods of research and fieldwork in Yemen on the poetic traditions of the endangered Mahri language, a poorly documented Semitic language indigenous to Southern Arabia. Dr. Liebhaber has published a translation of the first written collection of poetry in the Mahri language, The Dīwān of Ḥājj Dākōn (American Institute for Yemeni Studies, 2011), as well as articles on Mahri poetry and language in TheJournal of Semitic Studies (2010),Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies (2010), The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (2011), and The Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures (2013). Dr. Liebhaber is the author of the Mahri Poetry Archive, an online resource for Mahri poetry, society, and history: http://sites.middlebury.edu/mahripoetry/. More broadly, Dr. Liebhaber is interested in language ideology in the Middle East, vernacular Arabic poetry from the Arabian Peninsula, contemporary Yemeni literature, Semitic epigraphy, and Comparative Semitics.
Sample syllabi of his literature courses can be found here:
Modern Arabic Literature (English): http://sites.middlebury.edu/arbc221f14/
Classical Arabic Prose (Arabic): http://sites.middlebury.edu/arbc0410spring15/
The Arabic Novel (English): http://sites.middlebury.edu/arbc212f15/
The Arabic Novel (Arabic): http://sites.middlebury.edu/arbc0402f12/
Arabia: A Literary Approach (English): http://sites.middlebury.edu/arbc210f14/
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
ARBC0101 - Beginning Arabic I
Beginning Arabic I
The goal of this course is to begin developing reading, speaking, listening, writing, and cultural skills in Arabic. This course stresses written and oral communication, using both formal Arabic and some Egyptian dialect. Emphasis is also placed on reading authentic texts from Arabic media sources, listening to and watching audio and video materials, and developing students' understanding of Arab culture. 6 hrs lect/disc. LNG
Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016
ARBC0102 - Beginning Arabic II
Beginning Arabic II
This course is an intensive continuation of ARBC 0101. In addition to the goals stated for that course there will be extra emphasis on cultural skills during winter term. (ARBC 0101 or equivalent). LNG WTR
Winter 2015, Winter 2017
ARBC0103 - Beginning Arabic III
Beginning Arabic III
This course is a continuation of ARBC 0102. 6 hrs. lect/disc (ARBC 0102 or equivalent) LNG
Spring 2013, Spring 2014
ARBC0210 / CMLT0210 - Arabia: A Literary Approach
Arabia: A Literary Approach (in English)
In this course we will examine the Arabian Peninsula as a literary topos that has beguiled representation in both Eastern and Western literature. Whether it is depicted as a glittering spectacle of petro-dollars, the haunt of Bedouin tribesmen or as a sacred focal point, Arabia is an open canvas on which successive societies have sketched their anxieties and aspirations Simultaneously, Arabia has its own rich legacy of self-representation that has been shaped by its harsh environment and unique resources. We will sift through these representations in texts that range among pre-Islamic poetry, the accounts of foreign explorers, novels by modern Arab authors, and contemporary Bedouin oral poetry. All readings will be in English and no previous knowledge of Arabic is required. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW LIT MDE
Spring 2014, Fall 2016
ARBC0212 / CMLT0212 - The Arabic Novel
The Arabic Novel in Translation
In this course we will discuss various forms of Arabic literary prose from the end of the 19th century to the present. The course traces the rise of prose forms such as memoirs and travel journals that later developed into the novel form with prominent writers such as Yahya Haqqi, Naguib Mahfouz, and Tayyib Salih. The focus will be to study the manner in which the novel reflects major changes and transitions in Arab culture and society. AAL CW LIT MDE
ARBC0221 / CMLT0221 - Modern Arabic Literature
Modern Arabic Literature
This course is a survey of the most important moments in the development of Modern Arabic Literature from the end of 19th century to the present. We will map the developments, achievements, and innovations by Arab writers against a double background of rising nationalism, decolonization, and wars on the one hand and the idea and experiences of modernity and the west on the other. We will examine works of fiction by both male and female writers including novels, short stories, and drama, as well as poetry representing several different Arab countries. Students are encouraged to read in advance Albert Hourani's A History of the Arab People. (Open to all, no previous knowledge of Arabic is required). 3 hrs. Sem AAL LIT MDE
ARBC0301 - Advanced Arabic I
Advanced Arabic 1
A continuation of Arabic 0202. This course aims to help students reach an intermediate-high level of proficiency in reading, speaking, writing, listening, and culture. Readings include articles on cultural, social, historical, political and literary topics. (ARBC 0202 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect/disc LNG
ARBC0302 - Advanced Arabic II ▲
Advanced Arabic II
This course is a continuation of Arabic 0301. It aims to help students reach an advanced level of proficiency in reading, speaking, and writing Arabic, as well as to develop further an understanding of Arab culture. Readings include articles on cultural, social, historical, political, and literary topics. Course will be conducted entirely in Arabic. (ARBC 0301 or equivalent) 3 hrs. lect/disc. LNG
Spring 2013, Spring 2016, Spring 2017
ARBC0410 - Classical Arabic Prose
Readings in Classical Arabic Prose (in Arabic)
Classical Arabic prose is one of the delights of world literature. A product of the vibrant intellectual climate of the 'Abbasid Caliphate (750 - 1258 CE), Classical Arabic prose embodies a humanistic sensitivity and inquisitive depth that has set the standard for literary Arabic. In this course we will read representative texts from some major genres of Classical Arabic prose: geography, history, philology, biography, and the tradition of courtly belles-lettres. Students will also be presented with the opportunity to read hand-written manuscripts. (ARBC 0302 or equivalent) 3 hrs. seminar. AAL LIT LNG MDE
ARBC0500 - Independent Study ▲
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017
ARBC0600 - Senior Project ▲
ARBC0700 - Senior Thesis I ▲
Senior Thesis I
Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017
ARBC0701 - Senior Thesis II ▲
Senior Thesis II
Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017
CMLT0101 - Intro to World Literature
Introduction to World Literature
This course is an introduction to the critical analysis of imaginative literature of the world, the dissemination of themes and myths, and the role of translation as the medium for reaching different cultures. Through the careful reading of selected classic texts from a range of Western and non-Western cultures, students will deepen their understanding and appreciation of the particular texts under consideration, while developing a critical vocabulary with which to discuss and write about these texts, both as unique artistic achievements of individual and empathetic imagination and as works affected by, but also transcending their historical periods. 3 hrs. lect./disc. CMP CW LIT
CMLT0700 - Senior Thesis
Fall 2014, Spring 2015
IGST0706 - MES Senior Thesis ▲
Middle East Studies Senior Thesis
Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017
- The Dîwân of Hâjj Dâkôn: Introduction and Commentary by Sam Liebhaber. Ardmore: The American Institute for Yemeni Studies, in press.
- “The Humaynî Pulse Moves East: Yemeni Nationalism Meets Mahri Sung Poetry.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies: in press.
- “Arabian Prosody Revisited: A Spectrographic Analysis.” Wiener Offene Orientalistik/Südarabien-Symposion: in press.
- “Rhythm and Beat: Re-evaluating Arabic Prosody in Light of Mahri Oral Poetry” Journal of Semitic Studies, 55:1 (2010): 163-182.
- “Written Mahri, Mahri Fushâ and Their Implications for Early Historical Arabic.” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 40 (2010): 227-232.
- “Playing With Poetry in Southern Arabia.” International Studies Magazine, Middlebury College (2008).
- The Book of Sana’a by Dr. Abd al-Azîz al-Maqâlih, trans. Bob Holman and Sam Liebhaber, Ardmore: The American Institute for Yemeni Studies, 2004.
- “Al-Shanfarâ and ‘The Mountain Poem’ of Ibn Khafâja: Some Observations on Patterns of Intertextuality.” Journal of Arabic Literature 34 (2003): 107-121.
- “Disappearing Act: The Mahri Language of Southern Arabic” Language Works Faculty Speaker Series, Middlebury College (11/11/2010)
- “Written Mahri, Mahri Fushâ and Their Implications for Early Historical Arabic” The Seminar for Arabian Studies, London (2009)
- “A String of Pearls: Narrative Structure and The Pre-Islamic Qasîda” Talking About Literature Series, Literature Program in Conjunction with Introduction to World Literature Course, Middlebury College (3/19/2009)
- “Rhythm and Beat: Re-evaluating Arabic Prosody in Light of Mahri Oral Poetry” Middle East Studies Association Conference, Washington D.C. (2008)
- Organized Panel: “Revisiting al-Hamdânî: New Perspectives on the Indigenous Language Communities of the South Arabian Periphery” Middle East Studies Association Conference, Montréal (2007)
- “Humaynî Poetry in al-Mahra?” Middle East Studies Association Conference, Montréal (2007)
- “Oral Traditions and the New School of Poetry and Song in the Mahri Language of Southeast Yemen” Middle East Studies Association Conference, Washington D.C. (2005)
- “The Mahri Language, Mahri Poetry and Indigenous Expressions in Southeast Arabia” Crossing Over: Learning to Navigate the Borderlands of Intercultural Encounters, Cleveland State University (2005)
- “The Lyric Poetry of Hâjj bir Alî Dâkôn, a Contemporary Poet of al-Mahra” Fifth International Conference on Yemeni Civilization, Sana’a (2004)
- “Oral Taditions and ‘The New School’ of Mahri Verse” American Institute for Yemeni Studies, Sana’a (2004)
- “Oral Taditions and The New School of Mahri Verse: An Analysis of Contemporary Poetry in the Mahri Language of SE Yemen” Centre Français d’Archeologie et de Sciences Sociales de Sana’a (2004)
- “Adapting Arabian Motifs into the Poetic Idiom of al-Andalus: The Case of “The Mountain Poem” of Ibn Khafâja” Arabic, Hebrew & Spanish Literature in the Iberian Peninsula: A Symposium in Memory of Amérigo Castro, University of California, Berkeley (2003)
- “The Colloquial Poetry of Ibn Quzmân: Form and Meaning” Middle East Studies Association Conference, Anchorage (2003)
- “Representations of Epigraphy and Writing in the Nasîb: An Historical Examination of a pre-Islamic Motif” Middle East Studies Association Conference, Washington D.C. (2002)