Associate Professor of Arabic
Sam Liebhaber received his MA degree in Comparative Semitics from UC Berkeley in 2000 and his PhD in Arabic Literature from UC Berkeley in 2007. In addition to teaching Arabic language courses covering four years of Arabic proficiency, Sam Liebhaber has taught 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 monograph on the first collection of Mahri poetry ever written by a native Mahri speaker (2011) and several articles that address the linguistic anthropology of al-Mahra, the Mahri poetic tradition and the intersections of Mahri poetry with early literary and contemporary vernacular Arabic poetry. 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.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
ARBC 0101 - 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.
Fall 2013, Fall 2014
ARBC 0102 - 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).
ARBC 0103 - Beginning Arabic III
Beginning Arabic III
This course is a continuation of ARBC 0102. 6 hrs. lect/disc (ARBC 0102 or equivalent)
Spring 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2014
ARBC 0210 / CMLT 0210 - 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.
Fall 2012, Spring 2014
ARBC 0221 / CMLT 0221 - 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
ARBC 0301 - 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
Fall 2010, Fall 2013
ARBC 0302 - 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.
ARBC 0402 - Advanced Arabic IV
Advanced Arabic IV
This course is a continuation of ARBC 0401 (ARBC 0302). 3 hrs. lect./disc.
ARBC 0500 - Arabic Independent Project ▲ ▹
Arabic Independent Project
Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
ARBC 0700 - Senior Project ▲ ▹
Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015
ARBC 0701 - Senior Thesis Proposal ▲
Senior Thesis Proposal
Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014
CMLT 0700 - Senior Thesis ▲
IGST 0706 - MES Senior Thesis ▲
Middle East Studies Senior Thesis
- 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)