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.

Met these two crazies in Tunisia trying to sell me incense. We talked US foreign policy and food.
Me with two jokers in Tunis

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.

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