Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Assistant Professor

Modern Arabic literature, rhetoric, film and media

Nathaniel Greenberg is an Assistant Professor of Arabic at George Mason University and book review editor for the Journal of Arabic Literature. A specialist in North African literature and society, his work includes the ACLA award-winning The Aesthetic of Revolution in the Film and Literature of Naguib Mahfouz (1952-1967) (Lexington 2014) and Islamists of the Maghreb (Routledge 2018) with Jeffry R. Halverson. His forthcoming book How Information Warfare Shaped the Arab Spring: the Politics of Narrative in Tunisia and Egypt (Edinburgh University Press 2019) offers an in-depth look at how foreign, domestic and social media operations helped shape the first two years of the Arab uprisings. Portions of the research behind this long-running project have appeared in The Conversation, Jadaliyya, The Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Seattle Times and TelosScope.

Prior to joining Mason, Greenberg held positions as an Assistant Professor of Arabic and World Literature at Northern Michigan University and as a Postdoctoral Fellow in North African Studies with the Center for Strategic Communication at Arizona State University. He is an alumnus of CLS- Arabic, the University of Washington, and CUNY- Hunter College. At Mason, Prof. Greenberg teaches modern Arabic literature, film, translation and open-source media analysis. In 2015, he created the University's first BA Concentration in Arabic.

Selected Publications


How Information Warfare Shaped the Arab Spring: The Politics of Narrative in Egypt and TunisiaEdinburgh University Press. 2019.

Islamists of the Maghreb, with Jefrry R. HalversonLondon, U.K.: Routledge. 2018.

The Aesthetic of Revolution in the Film and Literature of Naguib Mahfouz (1952-1967), Lanham M.D: Lexington Books. 2014

(reviewed in IJMES and SOAS Bulletin)


Double-Blind Peer-Reviewed Essays

"The Subject of Revolt: Stasis and Dynamism in Four Post-Revolutionary Arab Novels." Studies in the Novel. Forthcoming.

"Ahmed Khaled Towfik: Days of Rage and Horror in Arabic Science Fiction." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 57.2. 2018.

"Mythical State: The Aesthetics and Counter-Aesthetics of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria." The Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. 2017.

"Ideology as Narrative: The Mythic Discourse of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb." The Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. Co-written with Jeffry R. Halverson. 2017.

"The Politics of Perception in Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Cinema." Arabic Literature for the Classroom. Ed. Muhsin J. al-Musawi. Routledge. 2017.

"Naguib Mahfouz's Children of the Alley and the Coming Revolution." The Comparatist. 37. 2013.

"Political Modernism, Jabra, and the Baghdad Modern Art Group." Comparative Literature and Culture. 12.2. 2010.

"War in Pieces: AMIA and the Triple Frontier in Argentine and American Discourse on Terrorism." A Contracorriente. 8.1. 2010.



"The Secret Organization" (1982), by Naguib Mahfouz. Banipal: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature. 58. 2017.


Editor-reviewed journalism and reviews

"Russian Influence Operations Extend into Egypt." The Conversation. 12 Feb 2019.

“Exit ISIS, Stage Left: Fighting for Laughs in Mosul and Beyond.” Jadaliyya. 16 Apr 2016.

“The Rise and Fall of Abu 'Iyadh: Reported Death Leaves Questions Unanswered.” Jadaliyya, 13 Jul 2015.

“History in the Making: Tunisia’s Revolution.” The Los Angeles Review of Books, 30 May 2014.

“Emergent Public Discourse and the Constitutional Debate in Tunisia: a Critical Narrative Analysis.” TelosScope, 4 Jan 2014.

"Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Ibn Jubayr." Essays in Arabic Literary Biography 925-1350. Ed. Terri DeYoung.  Harrassowitz. 2011.

“A People's Protest? The View from a Cairo Coffeehouse.” The Seattle Times, 28 Jan 2011.




Grants and Fellowships

The Mathy Junior Faculty Award in the Arts and Humanities, GMU (2018)

The U.S. Department of State (CLS Alumni Development Fund, 2016)

The National Endowment for Humanities (Summer Scholar Program, 2015)

MITRE / ONR (2012 / 2013)

Chester Fritz [and Boeing International] UW (Egypt, 2012)

The Modern Language Quarterly (Dissertation Fellowship, 2011)

The U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (Morocco, 2010)

The U.S. Department of Education (FLAS, Egypt, 2007-08)

Courses Taught

ARAB 250, Gateway to advanced Arabic

ARAB 390, Methods in Arabic translation

ARAB 350/351, Media Arabic

ARAB 325, Major Arabic Writers

ARAB 360, Arab Cinema


Ph.D., Comparative Literature (2012) The University of Washington

M.A., Comparative Literature (2009) The University of Washington

B.A., Comparative Literature (2003) The City University of New York- Hunter College

Recent Presentations

"The Social Media Wars in Libya" (2018). The National Council on U.S.-Libya Relations. Rayburn House. Washington D.C.

"Caliphate: On the Communicative Aesthetics of the Islamic State Group" (2018). Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication. UPENN. Annual Symposium: "Mediating the Islamic State."

"From Futuwwa to Baltagiyya: Populism in Post-Revolutionary Egyptian Cineam" (2018). MLA. NYC.

"Ahmed Khalid Tawfiq and the Speculative Turn in Modern Arabic Fiction" (2017). NEMLA. Baltimore, MD.

"Mythical State: The Aesthetics and Counter-Aesthetics of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria" (2016). Communication and Conflict. SOAS.



In the Media

The Seattle Times

Flip the media

Al-Ahram Online 

The Council on Foreign Relations - "From the Potomac to the Euphrates"

Youm 7 (in Arabic)

News at Mason