Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Arabic Program Coordinator

Assistant Professor

Arabic: Film, media, rhetoric, literature and politics

Nathaniel Greenberg is an Assistant Professor and head of the Arabic program at George Mason University. Prior to joining MASON he worked as an Assistant Professor of World Literature at Northern Michigan University and before that was a Postdoctoral Fellow in North African Studies with Center for Strategic Communication at ASU. He holds a BA in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York- Hunter College and MA and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle. His research focuses on the intersection of literature, media and politics in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. His most recent work, How Information Warfare Shaped the Arab Spring: the Politics of Narrative in Tunisia and Egypt (EUP 2019), examines the role of counter-communications and influence operations in the context of the 2011 Arab uprisings. Other books include The Aesthetic of Revolution in the Film and Literature of Naguib Mahfouz (1952-1967) (Lexington, 2014), winner of the  American Comparative Literature Association's Helen Tartar Award, and Islamists of the Maghreb (Co-author, Routledge, 2018), a modern history of political Islam in North Africa. At MASON, Greenberg teaches modern Arabic literature, film, translation and open-source media analysis and he directs the University's undergraduate major in Arabic, which he helped to create in 2015.

Current Research

Information warfare in the Middle East and North Africa

The battle for Libya

The Algerian uprising

Egyptian media

New Arab cinema



Selected Publications


How Information Warfare Shaped the Arab Spring: The Politics of Narrative in Tunisia and Egypt, Edinburgh University Press. 2019.

Islamists of the Maghreb (Jefrry R. Halverson co-author). London, U.K.: Routledge. 2018.

The Aesthetic of Revolution in the Film and Literature of Naguib Mahfouz (1952-1967), Lanham M.D: Lexington Books. 2014. reviews: SOAS, IJMES


"Islamic State War Documentaries." The International Journal of Communication. 2020. Read: here

"Egypt's Post-2011 Embrace of Russian's Style Misinformation Campaigns." The Middle East Report (MERIP). 2019. Read: here

"The Gates of Tripoli: Power and Propaganda in Postrevolutionary Libya." The African Yearbook of Rhetoric. 9. 2019. Read: here

"Russia Opens Digital Interference Front in Libya." The Middle East Report Online. 4 Oct 2019. Read: here

"Russian Influence Operations Extend into Egypt." The Conversation. 12 Feb 2019. Read: here.

"Deconstructing ISIS: Philippe-Joseph Salazar on the Aesthetics of Terror." Philosophy and Rhetoric. 52.3. 2019.

"Notes on the Arab Boom: Stasis and Dynamism in the Post-revolutionary Arabic Novel." Studies in the Novel. 51.2. 2019. Read: here.

"Ahmed Khaled Towfik: Days of Rage and Horror in Arabic Science Fiction." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 57.2. 2018. Read: here.

"Mythical State: The Aesthetics and Counter-Aesthetics of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria." The Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. 10.2-3. 2017. Read: here.

"Ideology as Narrative: The Mythic Discourse of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb." The Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. 10. Co-written with Jeffry R. Halverson. 2017.

"The Politics of Perception in Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Cinema." Arabic Literature for the Classroom. Ed. Muhsin J. al-Musawi. Routledge. 2017.

"Naguib Mahfouz's Children of the Alley and the Coming Revolution." The Comparatist. 37. 2013. Read: here.

"Political Modernism, Jabra, and the Baghdad Modern Art Group." Comparative Literature and Culture. 12.2. 2010.

"War in Pieces: AMIA and the Triple Frontier in Argentine and American Discourse on Terrorism." A Contracorriente. 8.1. 2010. Read: here.


"The Secret Organization" (1982), by Naguib Mahfouz. Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature. 58. 2017.




Expanded Publication List

“Imararat Ya‘kubian,” Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History. Ed. Howard Chiang et al. Charles Scribner’s Sons. 3,000 words. 2018.

“Exit ISIS, Stage Left: Fighting for Laughs in Mosul and Beyond.” Jadaliyya. 16 Apr 2016.

“The Rise and Fall of Abu 'Iyadh: Reported Death Leaves Questions Unanswered.” Jadaliyya, 13 Jul 2015.

“History in the Making: Tunisia’s Revolution.” The Los Angeles Review of Books, 30 May 2014.

“Emergent Public Discourse and the Constitutional Debate in Tunisia: a Critical Narrative Analysis.” TelosScope, 4 Jan 2014.

“African Development Surge Could Play into AQIM Narrative.” COMOPS. 7 Mar 2013.

“The Arab Constitutions 2012: Chaos and Strategy.” COMOPS. 1 Dec 2012.

“Is the Ansar al-Shariah Crackdown a True About Face?” COMOPS. 26 October 2012.

“Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Ibn Jubayr,” Arabic Literary Culture, Vol.1 (925-1350). Ed. Terri DeYoung. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. 2,500 words. 2012.

“Cairo Divided: Suspicion reigns as violence increases.” The Seattle Times. 3 Feb 2011.

“Chaos Comes to Cairo: Neighbors unite to keep the peace.” The Seattle Times. 31 Jan 2011.

“A Cairo Neighborhood Swept Up in Protest’s Fervor.” The Seattle Times. 29 Jan 2011.

“A People's Protest? The View from a Cairo Coffeehouse.” The Seattle Times, 28 Jan 2011.





Grants and Fellowships

The Mathy Junior Faculty Award in the Arts and Humanities, GMU (2018)

The U.S. Department of State (CLS Alumni Development Fund, 2016)

The National Endowment for Humanities (Summer Scholar Program, 2015)

Postdoctoral Fellow, the Center for Strategic Communications, ASU 2012-2013)

Chester Fritz [and Boeing International] UW (Egypt, 2012)

The Modern Language Quarterly (Dissertation Fellowship, 2011)

The U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (Morocco, 2010)

The U.S. Department of Education (FLAS, Egypt, 2007-08)

Courses Taught

ARAB 250, Gateway to advanced Arabic

ARAB 390, Methods in Arabic translation

ARAB 350/351, Media Arabic

ARAB 325, Major Arabic Writers

ARAB 360, Arab Cinema


Ph.D., Comparative Literature (2012) The University of Washington

M.A., Comparative Literature (2009) The University of Washington

B.A., Comparative Literature (2003) The City University of New York- Hunter College

Recent Presentations

"The Social Media Wars in Libya Revisited" (2019). The National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations. Rayburn House, U.S. Capitol. Washington D.C.

"Information Warfare and the Struggle for Democracy: WikiLeaks and the Arab Spring Revisited" (2019). Media in Transition. M.I.T., Cambridge, MA. 

"The Social Media Wars in Libya" (2018). The National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations. Rayburn House, U.S. Capitol. Washington D.C.

"Caliphate: On the Communicative Aesthetics of the Islamic State Group" (2018). Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication. UPENN. Annual Symposium: "Mediating the Islamic State."

"From Futuwwa to Baltagiyya: Populism in Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Cineam" (2018). MLA. NYC.

"Ahmed Khalid Tawfiq and the Speculative Turn in Modern Arabic Fiction" (2017). NEMLA. Baltimore, MD.

"Mythical State: The Aesthetics and Counter-Aesthetics of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" (2016). Communication and Conflict. SOAS.



In the Media

The Seattle Times

Flip the media

Al-Ahram Online 

Youm 7 (in Arabic)

Fourth Estate


Public Radio International (PRI)