Waleed F. Mahdi is assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma. A specialist in US-Arab cultural politics, his research is at the intersection of area studies and ethnic studies as he explores issues of cultural representation and identity politics in American, Arab, and Arab American contexts.

Waleed’s recent book Arab Americans in Film: From Hollywood and Egyptian Stereotypes to Self-Representation (Syracuse University Press, 2020) examines how Arab American belonging is constructed, defined, and redefined across Hollywood, Egyptian, and Arab American cinemas. This comparative framework launches a new direction in the field of Arab American Studies by arguing that Arab American otherness cannot strictly be viewed as a mere by-product of US Orientalist and racialized histories, but as an outcome of the polarized cultural imaginations of “Self” and “Other” that exist in both US and Arab state nationalist narratives.

Waleed is a recipient of various national and international grants, and he has contributed to the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, the International Journal of Cultural Studies, and Mashriq and Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies. He is currently guest-editing the special issue “MENA Migrants and Diasporas in Twenty-First-Century Media” for Mashriq and Mahjar.

Waleed has recently completed a multi-institutional research collaboration with Columbia University, the University of Jordan, and the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies about the 2011 Arab revolutionary public spheres. He is now co-authoring a book with Nate Greenberg that examines the Arab support for American deployment of soft power in the “war on terror” era. He is also developing another book that explores Yemeni and Yemeni American creative expressions of agency in the twenty-first century.