Nada Ayad

Associate Dean

Nada’s research interests lie in modern and contemporary Arabic literature, women of color feminisms, theories and literatures of decolonization, and translation studies. Through an analysis of Egyptian women’s Arabic and Anglophone novels, memoirs, and video blogs, her current research challenges dominant understandings of Arab women’s political participation. She explores the intertwining of the tropes of revolution and domesticity in texts depicting three Egyptian revolutions – in 1919 and 1952, against the British Occupation and, in 2011, against Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship. Focusing on representations of kinship relations, sexuality, motherhood, and practical household concerns, she analyzes how domesticity and political consciousness function in concert to construct new national imaginaries. Currently she is working on her book project, tentatively titled Domesticating the Revolution in Egyptian Women’s Political Texts.

Nada’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. She also collaborated with the creative team at the Sawt project on a documentary film by translating from the Egyptian Arabic dialect interviews of Egyptian women’s reactions to the 2011 Revolution. At the moment, she is working on a translation project involving the works of two Egyptian revolutionaries who launched the 1919 Revolution and the Egyptian Feminist Movement.

In her role as associate dean, Nada supports HSS faculty and staff; partners with faculty across Cooper Union on issues of diversity and decolonization; collaborates with faculty, staff, and students across all academic programs on efforts of diversity and inclusion; and also provides leadership support for evolving Cooper’s interdisciplinary learning initiatives.

Courses taught at Cooper Union:



HSS4: The Arab Spring

Race and Gender in Literature: Motherhood

Race and Gender in Literature: Arab Women and the War Story

Revolutions of the Global South

List of publications:

Peer-reviewed articles:

“South-South Triangulations: Marriage, Fabric, and Decolonization in Latifa al-Zayyat’s The Open Door and Leila Abouleila’s Lyrics AlleyResearch in African Literature, forthcoming. 

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

“Reproducing, Mothering, and Caretaking: Forms of Resistance in Ahdaf Soueif’s In the Eye of the SunJournal 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 Texts, Contexts 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. Forthcoming.

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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