Nada Ayad

Acting Dean

In her role as associate dean, Acting Dean Ayad works to support HSS faculty and staff, as well as The Cooper Union Library. With her colleagues in the Office of Student Affairs, she helps organize the Intersectional Justice Discussion Group and Lecture Series. In 2020, she began co-hosting the Race and Climate Reading Group with the Cooper Climate Coalition.  

Dean Ayad teaches the Core Curriculum (HSS1: The Freshman Seminar; HSS4: The Arab Spring), as well as electives on literature, race, and gender. Her scholarly work focuses on modern and contemporary Arabic literature, women of color feminisms, theories and literatures of decolonization, and translation studies. She has published in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Translation Review, Research in African Literatures, and in the edited volume Text, Context & Politics Intersections in Translation. Her article “The Ambivalence of Revolutionary Cleaning in Mona Prince’s My Name is Revolution” is forthcoming in Journal of Global Postcolonial Studies.

Currently she is working on her book project, tentatively titled Domesticating Revolutions in Egyptian Women’s Political Texts. Using literary and historical analysis, this project focuses on the permeability of the political and the domestic realms in Egyptian women’s narratives depicting the country’s three revolutions during the past century – in 1919 and 1952, against British Occupation and, in 2011, against Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship. Studying the repetitive practices of domesticity and how they interlace with these historical revolutions uncovers a feminist temporality that functions in four ways: it reveals how the concept and the rituals of domesticity are constitutive of the revolutionary moment; problematizes the notion of revolutions as bound by strict temporal parameters;  uncovers the complex machinations of inclusions and exclusion based on gender, race, and class; and orients us towards the overlooked and understudied.    

Dean Ayad’s other passion is translation. She has translated from the French “It’s about Dignity,” a personal account of a university student’s involvement in the Arab Spring in Morocco, which appeared in the edited volume Demanding Dignity: Young Voices from the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions. In collaboration with the creative team at Sawt project, she worked on translating interviews of Egyptian women’s reactions to the 2011 Revolution for their documentary film. Most recently, she began working on a translation project involving the works of two Egyptian revolutionaries who helped launch the 1919 Revolution and the Egyptian Feminist Movement.  

She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Southern California, her M.A. in modern English literature from Leeds University, and her B.A. in American literature with minors in French and German from the University of Southern California. From 2016-2018, she was a postdoctoral fellow in comparative literature at Cooper Union, and assistant professor of world literature at FIT from 2018-2019. In 2019, she returned to Cooper as Assistant Dean of HSS and has been Associate Dean of HSS since 2020.

Recent Publications: 

Ayad, Nada. "South-South Triangulations: Fabric, Marriage, and Decolonization in Latifa al-Zayyat’s The Open Door and Leila Aboulela’s Lyrics Alley." Research in African Literatures, vol. 53 no. 4, 2023, p. 15-31. Project MUSE

“The Ambivalence of Revolutionary Cleaning in Mona Prince’s Revolution is my Name” Journal of Global Postcolonial Studies, forthcoming in 2023.

“Reproducing, Mothering, and Caretaking: Forms of Resistance in Ahdaf Soueif’s In the Eye of the Sun” Journal of Postcolonial Writing, vol. 55, no.2, 2019, pp. 228-239.

“Between Huda Sha’rawi’s Memoirs and Harem Years,” in Translation and the Intersection of TextsContexts and Politics: Historical and Socio-Cultural Perspectives, ed. Mohammed Albakry. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2017. 113—132.  

“The Politics of Foreignizing and Domesticating English in Ahdaf Soueif’s In the Eye of the Sun” Translation Review, vol. 95, no.1, 2016, pp. 55 – 66. 

From the Arabic: Translation of Egyptian women's interviews for the Sawt project, a documentary film depicting Egyptian women’s experience in the 2011 Revolution. 

From the French: “It's about Dignity,” by Omar Radi in Demanding Dignity: Young Voices from the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions, eds. Maytha Alhassen and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, Ashland, Ore: White Cloud, 2012. 181-88.

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