Ahmad Almallah

Associate Scholar

20152016 Forum on Sex

Ahmad Almallah

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Humanities and Humanistic Sciences, 2014-2016
Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Ahmad Almallah holds a Ph.D. in Classical Arabic Poetry from Indiana University Bloomington. He is currently a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, working on writing a book on Arabic love poetry and the ghazal. He held the position of Assistant Professor of Arabic and Arabic Literature at Middlebury College and left that position to move to Philadelphia with his wife and daughter in 2014. Since then he has found inspiration in Philadelphia to work on writing poetry and has been involved with the Arab arts and education organization, Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, in West Philadelphia. He is currently managing their project “Words Adorned: Andalusian Poetry and Music.”

Pure and Sensual: Arabic Love Poetry and the Ghazal

My book monograph focuses on the development of the Arabic ghazal / love poetry and the creation of the Abbasid ghazal.  It complicates the traditional categorization of the Arabic love poetry / ghazal into what critics and scholars have been labeling as the ‘udhrī / “pure” model and ‘umarī / “sensual” model. My argument is that both of these categorizations become modern interpretations of the Arabic tradition of love poetry. I show that by focusing on the case of Bashshār ibn Burd (d.167 or 168/784-5), where the labels “pure” and “sensual” take on interesting literary and ideological connotations.