Mejdulene B. Shomali is a Palestinian American 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 creative and scholarly work focuses on femininity, queerness, and transnational Arab cultural production.
Prof. Shomali has published two 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 and “Political Social Movements: Homosexuality and Queer Movements” in The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. A third, “Dancing Queens: Queer Desire in Golden Era Egyptian Cinema” is forthcoming in the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. The fourth, “The Pulse of Queer Life: Arab Bodies in Gay Bars” is forthcoming in the Arab American Studies Reader (ed Cainkar and Jarmakani, Syracuse UP). Finally, a book chapter on transnational movements in contemporary Arab American poetry is anthologized in The Immigrant Experience (2018). Her monograph, Moving Femininities: Queer Critique and Transnational Arab Culture is in progress.
Prof. Shomali has two poetry chapbooks under consideration: 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 Chapbook Competition. coming of age in arabish was also a finalist for the Honeysuckle Press 2018 Chapbook Competition. 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 links to creative publications, 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 a course of her design titled Trans/National Femininities. Prof. Shomali also teaches a second original course at UMBC titled “Arab and Muslim Experiences in the US.” It 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.