Modern and Classical Languages
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Assistant Professor

Arabic: Modern Arab intellectual history, film, literature, and media

Nathaniel Greenberg is Assistant Professor of Arabic at George Mason University and book review editor for the Journal of Arabic Literature. His work includes the ACLA award-winning The Aesthetic of Revolution in the Film and Literature of Naguib Mahfouz (1952-1967) and Islamists of the Maghreb: a Modern History of North African Political Islamwith Jeffry R. Halverson. He is presently completing a third book concerning media communications strategy, public discourse and the arts in post-revolutionary North Africa. Portions of the work have appeared in Jadaliyya, the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, Telos press, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Professor Greenberg is an alumnus of the City University of New York and the University of Washington, where he focused his doctoral study on the aesthetics of democratization in the Arab Middle East and North Africa under the direction of Dr. Terri DeYoung. In 2010-2011, he was pursuing research on the 1952 revolution in Egypt when the 2011 uprising began. He wrote about that experience for The Common Language Project and The Seattle TimesAt MASON, Professor Greenberg teaches Modern Standard Arabic, film, literature, open-source media analysis, and translation. In 2015, he created the University's first Foreign Language Major concentration in Arabic.

Selected Publications


Islamists of the MaghrebLondon, U.K.: Routledge. 2017.

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


Peer-Reviewed Essays

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

"Ideology as Narrative: The Mythic Discourse of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb." The Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. 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.

"Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Ibn Jubayr." Essays in Arabic Literary Biography 925-1350. Ed. Terri DeYoung.  Harrassowitz. 2011.

"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.



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


Editor-Reviewed Journalism

“Exit ISIS: 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.

"The Extremist-Narco Nexus Unexplored." COMOPS, 4 OCT 2012.

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

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

"Chaos Comes to Cairo: Neighbors Unite to Keep the Peace." The Seattle Times, 31 Jan 2011.

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

MITRE / ONR (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. (2012), M.A. (2009) The University of Washington

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

Recent Presentations

"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.

“The Politics of Perception in the Life and Work of Kamil al-Jadriji” (2015). The Middle East Studies Association. Denver, CO.

“Comparative vs. World Literature: The Great Debate in 21st American Literary Studies” (2015). Invited Lecturer. The Fulbright Commission Humanities Circle. Egypt.

“Abu ‘Iyadh: l’homme revolté [or the Discourse on Terrorism in Tunisia]” (2014). Presenter and Organizer. The Middle East Studies Association. Washington, D.C.

“Emergent Public Discourse and the Constitutional Debate in Tunisia: A Pragmatic Narrative Analysis” (2014). The Modern Language Association. Chicago, IL.

"Naguib Mahfouz's Children of the Alley and the Fall of Mubarak" (2011). Presenter and Organizer. The American Comparative Literature Association, Vancouver, B.C.

"The Existentialist of Baghdad: Jabra I. Jabra and the Art of Political Modernism" (2008). The American Comparative Literature Association. Long Beach, CA.



In the Media

The Seattle Times

Flip the media

Al-Ahram Online 

The Council on Foreign Relations - "From the Potomac to the Euphrates"

Youm 7 (in Arabic)

News at Mason