Brian T. Edwards

Northwestern University

Brian T. Edwards is Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Professor of English at Tulane University. Prior to moving to Tulane, he was the Crown Professor in Middle East Studies and professor of English and comparative literary studies at Northwestern University, where he was also the founding director of the Program in Middle East and North African Studies (MENA). Under Edwards’ direction, MENA grew from a small faculty working group to an internationally recognized program with 20 core and language faculty and 13 affiliates, offering an undergraduate major, curricula in Middle Eastern languages, and an interdisciplinary PhD certificate.

As a scholar, Edwards examines U.S. literature and culture in a global context, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. He also writes about literature, film, and new media from Morocco, Egypt and Iran, where he has done extensive field research. He is the author of Morocco Bound: Disorienting America's Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express (Duke, 2005) and After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East (Columbia, 2016), coeditor of Globalizing American Studies (Chicago, 2010) and editor of On the Ground: New Directions in Middle East and North African Studies (NU-Q, 2013). Edwards has published essays and Op-Eds in a wide range of publications, both scholarly and mainstream, and lectured extensively throughout the US, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Central and South Asia. His research has been supported by major grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Fulbright Program. 

He is an advocate for renewed approaches to language learning, at both university and K-12 levels. A speaker of four languages himself, he led language initiatives at Northwestern and in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. From 2016 to 2017, he served on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Commission on Language Learning, which was charged by a bipartisan group of members of Congress to examine language education in the US and make recommendations for ways to meet the nation’s future education needs.

He was educated at Yale University, where he received his B.A. in English, magna cum laude, and his MA, MPhil, and PhD, all in American Studies.

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