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William Bentinck-Smith Fellow
Georgetown University
The People Wanted: Words, Movements, and Egyptian Revolution

Elliott Colla is an associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at Georgetown University with research interests in the links between social movements and literary production. He is the author of Conflicted Antiquities: Egyptology, Egyptomania, Egyptian Modernity (Duke University Press, 2007) and many essays on modern Arab literature, culture, and politics. He has translated works of contemporary Arabic literature, including Ibrahim al-Koni’s Gold Dust (American University in Cairo Press, 2008) and Raba’i al-Madhoun’s The Lady from Tel Aviv (Telegram Books, 2014).

As a Radcliffe fellow, Colla is exploring contemporary Egyptian literary production in the context of revolutionary politics and in conversation with social movement theory and performance studies. This project—based on 40 months of ethnographic, historical, and philological research in Egypt—constantly returns to investigating how expressive culture works as contentious politics and as an ongoing performance process.

Colla earned a PhD in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2004 the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded him a New Directions Fellowship. Colla’s translation of The Lady from Tel Aviv won an English PEN Award in 2012. 

2015–2016 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Photo by Tony Rinaldo