Karima Laachir took up the position of Director of The ANU Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies in January 2020. Prior to her appointment, Karima held a tenured position at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, where she was also the Director of the SOAS Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies. Prior to that, she was Lecturer in Cultural Theory at the University of Birmingham (UK) where she co-established a BA programme in Culture, Society and Communication and helped convene a seminar series on “Gender in Islamic Societies” organised for the UK Chevening Foreign Office Programme on “Islam and Governance”. She previously taught at the University of Leeds (UK) where she conducted extensive outreach activities with Muslim and non-Muslim communities to improve access to higher education. As part of this initiative, Dr Laachir taught community courses on Islamic History, Gender in Islam and Arabic Language.
Karima’s broader research interests are located at the interface between Humanities and Social Sciences exploring culture/arts and activism under authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa. Her published work moves beyond the dominant binary perception of Arabic Middle Eastern cultural productions as ‘co-opted’ by or resistant to the States to outline the various dimensions of cultural politics that involve local, national and global flows and structures. She is interested in the intersectionality and articulation of the questions of class, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality in cultural practices and how they mobilise alternative understandings of society and the State. She has published extensively on the question of Arab and Muslim Diasporas in Western contexts from the perspective of cultural identity, anti-racist politics and national belonging.
Dr Laachir has maintained a passion for literature and literary productions multilingually and comparatively (Arabophone, Francophone and Anglophone) exploring how literature can mediate through particular aesthetics/poetics alternative imaginings of social and political realities in the Middle East and North Africa and allow for other forms of theorising of the political. She is the Maghreb lead of a large European Research Council-funded project ‘Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies: For a New Approach to World Literature’, which offers a grounded, decolonial and comparative approach to the study of multilingual literatures from the perspectives of the Global South.
Books and Edited Volumes
The Multilingual Moroccan Novel: From Decolonisation to Neo-Liberal Times, Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2021.
with Francesca Orsini and Sara Marzagora, guest-edited special issue of Journal of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, the Middle East (CSSAAME) on “Multilingual Local and Significant Geographies Before Colonialism” (39) 1, 2019.
(2016) Journal of North African Studies. Special issue: The Aesthetics and Politics of Contemporary Moroccan Cultural Production, Vol. 21 (1). London: Routledge.
(2013) Journal of African Cultural Studies. Special issue: Contemporary Moroccan Cultural Production: Between Dissent and Co-optation, Vol 25, (3). Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group.
with Saeed Talajooy (2013) Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema, Music. London: Routledge.
Chapters in Edited Books
“Critical Reflection on Moroccan Literature post-2011 ‘Arab Spring’” in Rethinking the ‘Arab Spring’ and its Aftermath in the Maghreb, ed. Majid Hanounun, forthcoming 2020 with Routledge.
“State-Civil Society Dynamics in Morocco and Algeria: A Case of Divide and Rule” in Weak State, Strong Societies; edited by Amin Saikal. Lynne Reinner Publishers: 2016.
“Managed Reforms and Deferred Democratic Rule in Morocco and Algeria” in Saikal, Amin and Acharya, Amitav, (eds.), Democracy and Reform in the Middle East and Asia. IB Tauris. 2013.
“Saudi Women Novelist and the Quest of Freedom: The Case of Raja Alem’s The Doves’ Necklace” in Resistance in Contemporary Middle Eastern Cultures: Literature, Cinema and Music. Eds, K. Laachir and S. Talajooy. Routledge 2013. Pp. 32-48
“Social Class” in D. Albertazzi and P. Cobley (eds.) The Media: An Introduction, London: Pearson 2009. Pp. 427-443.
“North African Diaspora in France and Colonial Legacies” Diasporas: Movements and Cultures, ed. Hewitt, N. and Geary, D. Nottingham: Critical, Cultural and Communications Press 2008, pp. 85-97.
“Hospitality and the Limitations of the National” in The Ethics of Social Relations in a Mobile World, eds. Germann Molz, J. and Gibson, S. Ashgate, Aldershot 2007. PP. 177-193.
“African Diaspora in France” Online Chapter on “Black European Studies”, University of Mainz, 2005, available online: http://www.best.uni-mainz.de/modules/AMS/article.php?storyid=96
“Crossing the ‘Thresholds of Intolerance’: Contemporary French Society” in Cultural Studies: Interdisciplinarity and Translation, ed. Herbrechter, S. Rodopi: Amsterdam and Atlanta, 2002, pp. 279-295.
Refereed Journal Articles
“The Literary World of the North African taghrība: Novelization, Locatedness and World Literature” Journal of World Literature, 2.2 June 2019.
With Francesca Orsini and Sara Marzagora, “Significant Geographies in Lieu of World Literature” Journal of World Literature, 3.3 (2018), 290-310.
With Francesca Orsini and Sara Marzagora, “Multilingual locals and significant geographies: for a ground-up and located approach to world literature” Modern Languages Open (1) 19, 2018.
“Editorial: The Aesthetics and Politics of Contemporary Moroccan Cultural Production” in the Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 21 (1). London: Routledge 2016.
“The Aesthetics and Politics of Reading Together the Moroccan Novel and Arabic and French” in guest-edited special issue on “The Aesthetics and Politics of Contemporary Moroccan Cultural Production” in the Journal of North African Studies, Vol. 21 (1). London: Routledge 2016.
(2015) “Activism and ‘Liberal’ Authoritarianism.” The Middle East in London; Special Issue on North Africa, 11 (3). London: The London Middle East Institute at SOAS.
“Editorial: Contemporary Moroccan Cultural Production: Between Dissent and Co-optation” Journal of African Cultural Studies, 25 (3). 2013, pp. 257-260.
(2012) “Managed Reforms and Deferred Democratic Rule in Morocco and Algeria.” CAIS Bulletin, 19 (1).
'Reflection on Co-optation and Defeat in the Contemporary Moroccan Novel in Arabic: Mohammed Achaari's The Arch and The Butterfly (2011).' Journal of African Cultural Studies, 25 (3). 2013, pp. 292-305.
“Sectarian Strife and ‘National Unity’ in Egyptian Films: a Case Study of Hassan and Morqos” in Journal of Comparative Study of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Volume 31, No. 1, 2011,pp. 217-226.
“French Muslims and the Politics of Laicité” in The Maghreb Review, Vol. 33. No. 1, 2008, pp. 21-34.
“Tassadit Imache’s Une Fille sans Histoire, ‘une Fille de l'histoire’” in FMLS (Forum for Modern Language Studies) Vol. 43, No. 3, July 2007, pp. 277-289.
“France’s ‘Ethnic’ Minorities and the Question of Exclusion” in Journal of Mediterranean Politics, Vol. 12, No. 1, March 2007, pp. 99–105.
“French Muslim Youth and The banlieues of Rage” The Journal of Youth and Policy, Number 92, summer 2006, pp. 59-68.
“The Interplay between History/Memory/Space in Tassadit Imache’s: Presque un Frère and Le Dromadaire de Bonaparte” in Modern and Contemporary France, Vol. 13, No. 4 November 2005, pp. 449-464.
Review Article: “Paul Gilroy, Between Camps: Nations, Cultures and the Allure of Race” in Parallax, 2002, Vol. 8, No.3, pp. 104-108.