Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Arabic Program Coordinator

Associate Professor

Arabic: Film, media, rhetoric, literature and politics

Nathaniel Greenberg is an Associate Professor and head of the Arabic program at George Mason University. A comparatist by training with interests in contemporary cultural productions, literature and theory, his books include How Information Warfare Shaped the Arab Spring: The Politics of Narrative in Tunisia and Egypt (Edinburgh University Press 2019), Islamists of the Maghreb (co/author Routledge 2018) and 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. Prof Greenberg's research and training have been supported by grants from the US Department of Education, the Department of State, MITRE, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mathy Foundation. He is presently pursuing several lines of inquiry into the confluence of technology, ideology and power in the modern Middle East and North Africa.

Current Research

New Media/Social Media


Social movements of the MENA

Literature and politics

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

Selected Essays

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

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

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

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

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

"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.


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




Expanded Publication List

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

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

"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.

“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.

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

“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.

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

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

“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

Faculty Fellow, The Center for Humanities Research, George Mason University, Spring 2021

CLS/US State Department Alumni Development Fund, 2018

Mathy Scholar, George Mason University, 2016

CLS/US State Department Alumni Development Fund, 2016

NEH Summer Scholar, American Muslims: History, Culture, and Politics, 2015


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

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

C.E.L.TA., Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, Campbell College, Valencia, Spain.

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

Recent Presentations

"The Role of Media in the Libyan Revolution" (2021). 10 Year Anniversary. The National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations.

"Dissent, History and Politics in the Modern Middle East: Tunisia's Cyber-dissidents revisited." (2021). Modern Language Association.

"The Gates of Tripoli: power and propaganda in post-revolutionary Libya" (2020). Middle East Studies Association.

"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.





In the Media

The Seattle Times

Flip the media

Al-Ahram Online 

Youm 7 (in Arabic)

Fourth Estate



Public Radio International (PRI)

International Policy Digest