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Prof. Dr. Refqa Abu-Remaileh

Dr. Refqa Abu-Remaileh

Seminar für Semitistik und Arabistik

Arabic Studies


PI ERC project PalREAD

Fabeckstr. 23–25
Room -1.1006

Office hours

Virtual Office Hours: Tuesdays 16.00-17.00
Appointments via email

Current Positions

since 2020

Professor for Modern Arabic Literature and Film, Freie Universität Berlin (Germany)

Department of History and Cultural Studies, Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies


Principal Investigator, Freie Universität Berlin (Germany) 

ERC 5-year project “PalREAD – Reading and Reception of Palestinian Literature Since 1948” 


Affiliated Research Fellow, Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin, Germany) 

Project: “Contrapuntal Fragments: Palestinian Narratives and the Search for the Whole”



PhD (DPhil), Modern Arabic Literature and Film 

Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford (Oxford, UK)

Thesis title: “Documenting Palestinian Presence: A Study of the Novels of Emile Habibi and  the Films of Elia Suleiman”. Supervisors: Robin Ostle and Walter Armbrust.  


Masters (MSt), Modern Middle Eastern Studies

Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford (Oxford, UK) 

Thesis title: “Women, Nationalism and Patriarchy in Modern Arabic Literature and Film”. 


Bachelor of Arts (BA), English Literature

Department of English, University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) 


Diploma, International Baccalaureate (IB)

Amman Baccalaureate School (Amman, Jordan) 


Certificate, Introductory Filmmaking  

Vancouver Film School (Vancouver, Canada) 

Previous Positions


Director, Palestine-Israel ProjectsOxford Research Group, Middle East Programme (London, UK)


Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin, Germany)

Project: “Resistance and Subversion in Palestinian Literature and Film: Seeking New Comparative Dimensions”.


Postdoctoral Researcher (Marburg, Germany), Re-Configurations Research Network, Center for Near and Middle East Studies at Marburg University.


EUME Postdoctoral Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien (Berlin, Germany)

Project: “Narrative Entanglements: An Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Approach to Palestinian Literature and Film”.

2012–2015 Director, Palestinian Citizens of Israel Group, Oxford Research Group (London, UK) 

Manager, Middle East Programme, Oxford Research Group (London, UK)

2004–2007 Coordinator, The Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma Europe (London, UK) 

Researcher, The Guardian Newspaper (London, UK)

Fellowships and Awards


Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany.


Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers, Forum for Transregional Studies, Germany.

2007–2009 Scholarship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship.

Scholarship, Overseas Research Student Award (Doctoral), University of Oxford.

2000–2001 Scholarship, Canada Exchange Scholar, University of British Columbia.

Scholarship, Student Initiative Scholarship, University of British Columbia.

2008–2009 Award, Vice Chancellor’s Fund Award, University of Oxford.
2008–2009 Award, St John’s College Music Grant, University of Oxford.
2008–2009 Award, St John’s College Blues Squad Grant, University of Oxford.

PalREAD aims to tell the story of Palestinian literature by tracing, collecting, mapping and analyzing the development and evolution of Palestinian literary and cultural production and practices from 1948 to the present across various Arab, European, American, and Latin American countries.

2007 “Filming the Modern Middle East” (Book review). Arab Media and Society, Issue 2, Summer. 2008 “Palestinian anti-narratives in the films of Elia Suleiman”. Arab Media and SocietyJournal, Issue 5, Spring. <http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=670>

2009 The Meeting Place of British Middle East Studies: Emerging Scholars, Emergent Research and Approaches. Co-editor with Amanda Phillips. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.  

2010 “Documenting Palestinian Presence: A Study of the Novels of Emile Habibi and the Films of Elia Suleiman.” DPhil Thesis, deposited at the Bodleian Library. St John’s College: Oxford University.

2012 “Egypt's Culture Wars” (Book review). International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol.  44 no. 2, May 2012, pp. 366-368.

2013 “Narratives in Conflict: Emile Habibi’s al-Waqa’i‘ al-Ghariba and Elia Suleiman’s Divine Intervention”. In Narrating Conflict in the Middle East: Discourse, Image and Communications Practices in Lebanon and Palestine. Eds. Dina Matar and Zahera Harb. London: I.B. Tauris.

2014 “The Kanafani Effect: Resistance and Counter-Narration in the Films of Michel Khleifi and Elia Suleiman”. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, Vol. 7, Issue 2 (Special Issue on Palestine and the Moving Image).

2014 “Longing for Haifa in Haifa: Exile in the Homeland?” TRAFO - Blog for TransregionalResearch <http://trafo.hypotheses.org/1400>.  

2015 “The Afterlives of Ilitizam: Emile Habibi through a Kanafaniesque Lens of Resistance Literature”. In Commitment and Beyond: Reflections on/of the Political in Arabic Literature since the 1940s. Eds. Friederike Pannewick and Georges Khalil. Wiesbaden: Reichert-Verlag.

2015 “Elia Suleiman: Narrating Negative Space”. In Ten Arab Filmmakers: Political Dissent and Social Critique. Ed. Josef Gugler. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2017 “Novel as Contrapuntal Reading: Elias Khoury’s Children of the Ghetto, My Name is Adam.” In The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Conflicting Historical Traumas. New York: Columbia University Press (forthcoming).