July 2, 2009 — The Woodrow Wilson National Foundation Fellowship has awarded Hanadi Al-Samman, assistant professor of Arabic literature and culture in the University of Virginia's College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, a Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty for the 2009-10 academic year.
The highly competitive national fellowship, also partly funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is given to only 20 researchers nationwide and is based on "outstanding scholarly and teaching qualifications of winners," according to the Wilson Foundation.
The award letter states, "The fellowship program assists talented junior faculty to pursue scholarly research and writing over a year's time so they can attain tenure more easily."
Al-Samman, who concentrates on modern Arabic literature, is the second U.Va. faculty member to receive this award in the last seven years.
Currently, she is working on a book, "Anxiety of Erasure: Trauma, Authorship and the Diaspora in Arab Women's Narrative," that examines the literature of Arab women writers of the European and North American diaspora and formulates a theory of Arab women's authorship.
"Her research is very good and fills crucial gaps in existing scholarship," said Daniel Lefkowitz, chairman of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures. "By looking at the literature of Arab women ... Hanadi knits together the study of the Arab world, the study of the Western world, and the (now evermore crucial) relationship between those 'worlds.'"