W&L’s Edwards Featured in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies Arabic professor Anthony Edwards recently published a paper titled “Becoming the Muʿallim: how tradition and innovation made a Nahḍa icon.”
Anthony Edwards, associate professor of Arabic at Washington and Lee University, recently published a paper titled “Becoming the Muʿallim: how tradition and innovation made a Nahḍa icon” in the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. It appears in the June issue published online by the Cambridge University Press.
Edwards’ research, which was supported by a Lenfest Summer Research Grant that he received in 2021, examines how the Ottoman Arab intellectual Buṭrus al-Bustānī utilized the Arabic tradition of oratory and the innovation of print in the 19th century to create his public persona as the Muʿallim. The article demonstrates that al-Bustānī successfully established himself as the Muʿallim by mastering both forms of communication.
“My research focuses on intercultural exchanges and intellectual practices during the Nahḍa—the Arab experience of cultural and political modernity in the 19th century,” said Edwards. “Al-Bustānī was a leading figure of the Nahḍa in Beirut, and I’ve always been fascinated by how the man became inseparable from his title: ‘the Muʿallim,’ that is, ‘Teacher’ or ‘Master.’ In my paper, I examined how he cleverly operationalized both old and new practices of knowledge production to spread his ideas and develop a lasting reputation as the public pedagogue of civil society.”
Edwards has taught at W&L since 2015 and he is the 2019 recipient of the H. Hiter Harris III Rising Star Award as a top junior faculty member in Virginia. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Arabic from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern languages and cultures from the University of Texas at Austin.
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