Waleed F. Mahdi is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma with expertise in US-Arab cultural politics. He conducts research 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 is a recipient of several national and international awards. His peer-reviewed work appears in top-tier journals, including American Quarterly, Journal of American Ethnic History, and Journal of Cinema and Media Studies.
Waleed’s current book project, “Seeing Yemen: Visual Modes of Imperial Security and Yemeni Agency,” offers a multi-faceted analysis of competing visual modes in seeing Yemen from a US-securitized lens characterized by violence and imperial amnesia to a Yemeni lens marked by witnessing, grieving, and defying erasure. He is also currently co-editing a book project, “Reimagining the Field of Arab American Studies,” which reconceptualizes the field of Arab American Studies by providing a theoretical, historical, and geographic reframing that decenters whiteness and emphasizes peripheral communities and experiences.
Waleed’s first 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. He also guest-edited two special issues and 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.
Waleed has been elected as President of the Arab American Studies Association (AASA) for a two-year term starting in November 2023 (preceded by a year-long term as President-Elect). The AASA is a premier association of scholars and other persons interested in the study of Arab American history, ethnicity, culture, literature, art, music, politics, religion, sociology, and other aspects of the Arab American experience.