Samuel Liebhaber
Office
Voter Hall 002
Tel
(802) 443-5598
Email
slieb@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
FALL 2022: Monday, 1:00pm-2:30pm & Wednesday, 10:30am-12:00pm and by appointment.

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 Taught

Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

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).

Terms Taught

Winter 2020, Winter 2023

Requirements

LNG, WTR

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Course Description

Beginning Arabic III
This course is a continuation of ARBC 0102. 6 hrs. lect/disc (ARBC 0102 or equivalent)

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

Intermediate Arabic II
This course is a continuation of Arabic 0201. Fifth in a series of courses that develop reading, speaking, listening, writing, and cultural skills in Arabic. This course stresses communication in formal and spoken Arabic. (ARBC 0201 or equivalent). 6 hrs. lect/disc

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2023

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

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

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

AAL, LIT, MDE

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Course Description

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

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

Requirements

LNG

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Course Description

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.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AAL, LIT, LNG, MDE

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Course Description

Readings in Modern Arabic Literature
In this course students will engage modern and contemporary literature in the original Arabic language. In addition to reading an Arabic novel, we will examine other literary-aesthetic genres such as poetry, plays, and short stories. Throughout, we will analyze and discuss the role of modern Arabic literature in exposing and challenging various systems of marginalization and injustice in the Arab world and beyond. (ARBC302 or equivalent) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

AAL, LIT, LNG, MDE

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Course Description

Independent Study
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021

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Course Description

Senior Thesis I
Approval required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Thesis II
Approval required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Thesis
A senior thesis is normally completed over two semesters. During Fall and Winter terms, or Winter and Spring terms, students will write a 35-page (article length) comparative essay, firmly situated in literary analysis. Students are responsible for identifying and arranging to work with their primary language and secondary language readers, and consulting with the program director before completing the CMLT Thesis Declaration form. (Approval required.)

Terms Taught

Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Arabian Oral Poetry
The Arabian Peninsula enjoys a rich legacy of oral poetry and written poetry with oral roots. In this seminar, we will explore how the oral poetic traditions of the Arabian Peninsula have evolved over time, starting with pre-Islamic odes from the 6th century CE and ending with contemporary poetry circulated on social media. In addition to reading, analyzing, and enjoying individual poetic texts and performances, we will consider how the concept of oral literature emerged with Milman Parry’s Oral Formulaic thesis, giving rise to new ways of reading historical texts, understanding the art of performance, and reckoning with the cultural implications of literacy.

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

CW, LIT, MDE

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Course Description

Middle East Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Publications

Publications:

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.

Presentations:

“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 QasîdaTalking 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)