Brian Edwards (BA, PhD, Yale University) is Crown Professor in Middle East Studies, Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies, and Director of the MENA Program. He is the author of Morocco Bound: Disorienting America's Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express (Duke, 2005), and co-editor of Globalizing American Studies (Chicago, 2010), as well as numerous essays, Op-Eds, articles and reviews in both scholarly and general interest publications.
Named a 2005 Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Corporation of NY under their Islam Initiative, a 2008 New Directions Fellow by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and a Class of 2015 Emerging Leader by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, he was named the founding director of Northwestern’s MENA program in 2011. Previously, he was co-chair of the MENA working group at the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies (2007–11), which had as its goal the reconsideration of the field on intellectual and programmatic grounds after the critique of area studies. The group helped develop MENA studies at Northwestern during a period of unprecedented growth, and held a series of symposia from 2010 – 2012.
Edwards edited a volume of essays from the most recent such event, featuring Northwestern’s faculty, entitled On the Ground: New Directions in Middle East and North African Studies (2013). Edwards’s research examines the ways in which Western perceptions about the Middle East and North Africa are shaped by cultural representations, including literature, cinema, media, popular culture, and higher education. In the past several years, he has focused on the creative work of young Egyptians, Moroccans, and Iranians and changing attitudes towards American culture in the 21st century. His newest book, After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East (Columbia, 2016), examines the circulation of American culture in the digital age, with particular attention to three cities where he has done extensive research—Casablanca, Cairo, and Tehran.