Mejdulene B. Shomali is a queer Palestinian poet and Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). She received a PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 2015 and an MA in Women’s Studies from the Ohio State University in 2009. Her work focuses on femininity, queerness, and transnational Arab cultural production.
Prof. Shomali has published five peer reviewed essays on gender and sexuality in transnational Arab culture: “Scheherazade and the Limits of Inclusive Politics in Arab American Literature” in Multi Ethnic Literatures of the US (also anthologized in Arab American Women: Representation and Refusal (eds. Cainkar, Joseph, & Suleiman Syracuse UP September 2021); “Political Social Movements: Homosexuality and Queer Movements” in The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures; and “Dancing Queens: Queer Desire in Golden Era Egyptian Cinema” in the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. “The Pulse of Queer Life: Arab Bodies in Gay Bars” was published in Sajjilu Arab American: A SWANA Reader (eds. Cainkar, Jarmakani & Vinson Syracuse UP September 2022. Fifth, a chapter on transnational movements in contemporary Arab American poetry is anthologized in The Immigrant Experience (2018). Her monograph, Between Banat: Queer Arab Critique and Transnational Arab Archives is being published by Duke University Press (Feb 2023).
Prof. Shomali has written two chapbooks coming of age in arabish and prayers for my father’s dementia. prayers for my father’s dementia was a semifinalist in the Button Poetry 2019 & 2020 Chapbook Competition. coming of age in arabish was also a finalist for the Honeysuckle Press 2018 Chapbook Competition. She is currently working on a poetry book. Her individual poems and creative pieces can be read or are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Shade Journal, Tinderbox, Diode Press, The Pinch Journal, and Mizna, among others. For poems and essays, click here.
At UMBC, Prof. Shomali teaches multiple interdisciplinary courses including: Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies; Intro to Critical Sexuality Studies; Race, Gender and Media; Theories of Feminism; and the GWST Research + Activism Colloquium. She also designed and teaches two original courses: “Trans/National Femininities” and “Arab and Muslim Experiences in the US.” The latter is the first course offered at UMBC that looks at Arab and Muslim life in the US. Additionally, she has developed university wide programming around Arab and Muslim identity. In Spring 2017, Prof. Shomali was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Ally Award at the Lavender Celebration, UMBC’s yearly event honoring LGBTQIA students, faculty, and staff.
Headline photo: El Seed mural at Wynwood walls, Miami, FL, March 2017. Photo by MBS.