NU-Q Celebrates New Faculty Publications

September 29, 2019

A collection of newly published books and monographs by faculty at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) was celebrated at a special event with students, faculty, and staff in attendance.

Some seven authored and four edited books, as well as two monographs, were produced by the NU-Q faculty and staff in the last academic year ranging from scholarly non-fiction studies to works of fiction.

The event, hosted by the NU-Q Library and Academic Affairs was moderated by Hariclea Zengos, senior associate dean, featured a panel discussion with the faculty and a reception following.  In introductory remarks, Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO, noted the “permanence and portability of the book, the oldest continuing communication medium or platform” and noted that the publications reflected “remarkable productivity and output by a faculty of 38 persons.”

In addition to the panel, there were book displays and a video presentation on each of the publications.

The books covered a range of subjects, including: media issues and biases; the relationship between culture, time and politics in the Arab world; the digital evolution in advertising across the MENA region, mobile digital disruption in the Gulf, animation, Sufi literature in West Africa; the role of intellectuals within contemporary Arab discourse; and a novel on the secret life of Van Gogh’s physician. Two monographs were also published by NU-Q on Arab identities and images in film, and the latest variation on of the school’s annual media use project, a longitudinal study.

Jairo Lugo-Ocando, director of executive and graduate education and professor, discussed his two most recent books: Crime Statistics in the News: Journalism, Numbers and Social Deviation and Poor News: Poverty, Politics and Ideology in the British Press. The first, he said, “deals with the way journalists engage with numbers to construct arguments on crime in their stories, and how they use these numbers to legitimatize or question arguments in that context,” while the second “analyzes how journalists report on poverty and social exclusion, by questioning the idea that journalists are watchdogs to power.”

Meanwhile, Zachary Wright, associate professor, who with Amir Sayed and Rudolph Ware co-authored, The Jihad of the Pen; Sufi Literature in West Africa. He explained that the book “tries to shine a spotlight on the scholarly production of West African Muslim scholars in the last two centuries to show how their ideas were shared and that they were part of a larger intellectual discourse.”

Wright also authored a second book, Sur La Voie De Prophete, which is a French translation of a book published earlier on the history of Sufiism in the 18th century in North Africa, with particular reference to the Tijaniyah – the largest Sufi order in Africa today.

Ilhem Allagui, associate professor, authored Advertising in MENA Goes Digital, which explores the evolution of advertising practices as agencies adopt a more digitalized approach distinct from more traditional outreach efforts of social media and the web. She said she was inspired to “close the gap by bringing nuance to the cultural components of advertising campaigns that are unique to the Gulf, so students, scholars and advertising professionals gain a better understanding of the status of the advertising market in the region.” 

As an expert in contemporary Middle Eastern Studies, Professor Khaled Al-Hroub authored The Anxious Intellectual that examines “the role of Arab intellectuals in today’s world.” Hroub explored the various conceptions and roles of intellectuals from two main schools of thought: the Gramscian organic and the Saidian critic. “I wrote this book in Arabic because it contributes significantly to the ongoing debate about the status of the Middle East as it continues to endure many issues including, poverty, war, and instability,” he said.

Sam Meekings, assistant professor, wrote The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet, a novel that uncovers the story behind a painting by Vincent van Gogh of his personal doctor, Paul Gachet. The book explores the history of Gachet’s life as well as the painting itself and brings nuance to the doctor’s melancholy character.

Several edited books also recognized at the event included Associate Professor Joe Khalil’s Culture, Time and Publics in the Arab World: Media, Public Space and Temporality, which provides readers with a new way of exploring and understanding Arab culture and society through the analysis of real-life occurrences that shape Arab societal structures and experiences. Animation by Scott Curtis, associate professor, looks at the history of animation in the U.S. from its beginnings to the present day. Also recognized was Curtis’s edited pedagogical title, The Image in Early Cinema: Form and Material.

Contributing to the discussion Justin Martin, associate professor, reviewed findings from NU-Q’s longitudinal study Media Use in the Middle East 2018, which found “that people in Qatar and the region have become more open to the idea of criticizing governments and policies online,” and that “social media use has continued to decline while binge-watching and content streaming have continued to rise.” 

As a notable research university on its Evanston and Chicago, Illinois campuses, NU-Q is also building a reputation for research that includes institutional studies, faculty research, and undergraduate student research as well. Beyond books, NU-Q scholars produce scores of refereed articles, book chapters, reports, professional studies, and conference papers. These are reported annually in the school’s Year in Review.

The complete list of authored and edited books as well as monographs is:

Authored books

  • Advertising in MENA Goes Digital (2019) by Ilhem Allagui
  • The Anxious Intellectual (2018) by Khaled Hroub
  • Crime Statistics in the News: Journalism, Numbers and Social Deviation (2018) by Jairo Lugo-Ocando
  • The Afterlives of Doctor Gachet (2018) by Sam Meekings
  • Poor News: Poverty, Politics and Ideology in the British Press (2018) by Jairo Lugo-Ocando and Steven Harkins.
  • Jihad of the Pen: the Sufi Literature of West Africa (2018) by Zachary Wright, Amir Sayed, and Rudolph Ware
  • Mobile Disruptions in the Middle East (2018) by Everette E. Dennis, John Pavlik, Rachel Davis Mersey, and Justin Gengler

 Edited volumes

  • Animation (2019) by Scott Curtis
  • The Image in Early Cinema: Form and Material (2018) by Scott Curtis, Philippe Gauthier, Tom Gunning and Joshua Yumibe
  • Public Service Media in the Networked Society (2019) by Gregory Ferrell Lowe, Hilde Van den Bulck, and Karen Donders
  • Culture, Time and publics in the Arab world: Media, Public space, and Temporality (2018) by Joe Khalil and Tariq Sabry


  • Media Use in the Middle East 2018 by Everette E. Dennis, Justin D. Martin, Elizabeth A. Lance, and Fouad Hassan
  • Arab Identities, images in film (2018) by Pamela Erskine-Loftus