Santa Clara University

Phone: 408-551-1886
Fax: 408-554-4837
Location: St. Joseph's Hall
Room number: 305

Dr. Cynthia Mahamdi

Senior Lecturer

Cynthia teaches Critical Thinking and Writing with a thematic focus on the fictionalizing of US and world history in novels and films; an upper-division global literature course on the contemporary literature and film of the Middle East; Introductory Fiction Writing, and Writing Genre Fiction, a new course developed in response to student interest in fantasy, science fiction, and other genres of contemporary fiction. She is affiliated with the Arabic, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (AIMES) minor and Multicultural Learning.

Research Interests Include:

Historical fiction and film in English-language and global literatures; contemporary fiction and film of the Arab World and Iran; the Arab Golden Age in Andalusia; and genre fiction, particularly historical and speculative fiction.

Recent Publications and Conference Presentations:

Book chapter, "Revisioning Al Andalus in Nacer Khemir's film, The Dove's Lost Necklace," in Ethnic Literatures and Transnationalism:  Critical Imaginaries for a Global Age, ed. Aparajita Nanda (Routledge, 2015).

"Revisioning Al Andalus in Contemporary Arabic Literature and Film."  Paper presented at the 2012 MELUS/USACLALS conference, San Jose, April 2012, as part of the panel, "Arabic Images."

"The Past is Another Country:  Writing Historical Fiction," Panel Moderator.  Associated Writing Programs Conference, Denver, Colorado, 2010.  (Other panel members:  Ron Hansen and Philip Gerard, Chair of the Creative Writing Department at UNC-Wilmington. 

"The Problem of the Western Protagonist/Hero in Historical Fiction Set in Non-Western Cultures."   Paper presented at the AWP Conference panel (see above). 

"The Uses of Creative Writing and Historical Fiction and Film in First-Year Writing Curricula."  Paper presented at the 2012 Young Rhetorician's Conference, Monterey, 2012.

Current Work in Progress:

  • Seeking publication of a historical novel, The Renegado, an inverted captivity tale set in North Africa in the early years of French colonization.
  • Writing a new novel, After the Fall, set in the near future in a post-apocalyptic Northern California.
  • Completing research for a documentary film project (The Art of Living) and historical novel set in the Arab Golden Age in Andalusia (9th to 11th centuries).
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