Adab is the Arabic word for “literature” but also “culture,” in the sense of a “cultured” or “lettered,” i.e. refined or well-educated, person. “Adabist” is a neologism referring (in my definition) to someone who studies culture and cultural expression.
After trying several other, more specific themes – Moroccan politics, travel photography, Arabic literature, freedom of expression, medieval Islamic materia obscura – I gave up and went with “Middle East Humanities and Cultures” so I can do it all. In fact sometimes I post about things that don’t even have to do with the Middle East. It’s just better this way.
As for what makes it to these pages, every day I stumble over at least a dozen ideas, factoids, words, pictures, and other random tidbits that will never see the light of day as part of my research or teaching. Most wind up buried in a folder on my laptop, but a few slip through the cracks and land on this blog.
About me: The Adabist is run by Kevin Blankinship, a current PhD candidate in Arabic literature at the University of Chicago and Fulbright-Hays DDRA scholar based in Morocco. A medievalist by training and disposition, he spends his time thinking about how the humanities can help us better understand the Middle East, higher education, and international relations. Kevin is also a freelance Arabic translator.