U of A's Mohja Kahf is University of Michigan-Flint's December Commencement Speaker

Mohja Kahf
Photo Submitted

Mohja Kahf

Mohja Kahf will be the keynote speaker at the Dec. 17 University of Michigan-Flint Commencement Ceremony.

Kahf is a professor of comparative literature in the Department of English of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, an accomplished author and a social justice activist.

Kahf was born in Syria, grew up in Indiana, and has taught at the University in Arkansas since 1995. She also lived in Utah and New Jersey during her youth.

Her novel, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, has been selected for the "One Book" project in several locations, including Bloomington, Indiana and Indiana University East. It is about a Syrian girl growing up in Indiana. Her most recent poetry book, Hagar Poems, is a feminist exploration of figures common to Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Her essay, The Caul of Inshallah, won a Pushcart Prize in 2011.

Kahf said she was humbled to speak in Flint, with both its historical and current state of activism. She pointed to the Sit-Down Strike of 1936-1937 and the current social justice work being done related to the Flint water crisis as just two examples.

"I am amazed by the activism in Flint," she said. "I am delighted and impressed with UM-Flint wanting a poet and activist as its commencement speaker."

Kahf's teaching interests include comparative literature, modern Arabic literature, postcolonial studies, Arab and Arab American feminism, Arab American literature, the Quran; postcolonial women's writing in comparative perspective, literatures of the Iberian peninsula from 711 to 1615 C.E., and classical Arabic literature.

Kahf is a founding member of the Radius of Arab American Writers. She has served on the board of the Ozark Poets & Writers Collective in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is also the author of the scholarly monograph Western Representations of the Muslim Woman: From Termagant to Odalisque, and the book of poems, E-mails from Scheherazad.

"Dr. Kahf is a wonderful example of a person whose scholarship, creative work, and life is pursued with a powerful understanding of our common humanity," said Douglas G. Knerr, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UM-Flint. "We want our graduates to know such people and to be inspired and challenged by them."


Kayleb Rae Candrilli, 2023-24 Walton Visiting Writer in Poetry, to Read in Fayetteville

Candrilli will read from their work at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Home Economics Auditorium, room 0102, as the 2023-24 Walton Visiting Writer in Poetry.

Gender Studies Program's Third Annual Bridge Fellows Program

The Bridge Fellows Program is designed to support graduate research on gender issues in any department or college for the spring semester.

Gavin Miller Selected as September's Student Leader of the Month

Gavin Miller, an honors junior from Bryant who is studying public health and biology, has been selected as the Student Leader of the Month for August. 

U of A Health Plans Add RSV Vaccines to Medical Coverage Options

The U of A System Office has announced that eligible U of A employees will soon have access to Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection vaccines covered with no out-of-pocket expense through United Medical Resources. 

Linking Belonging to a Transformational Workforce

The lecture and networking sessions are for senior leaders and human resource partners to engage with Dr. Charles Barber on the importance of linking belonging and leveraging diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in a transformative workforce.

News Daily