University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Nizar Hermes

Nizar Hermes

Assistant Professor, Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures

141 New Cabell Hall


Of Cities and the Poetic Imagination in the Premodern and Precolonial Maghrib, 9th-19th Centuries AD

I am working on a new monograph addressing the poetic configuration of the city in the unduly neglected poetry of premodern and precolonial North Africa—hereafter the Maghrib. By exploring the poetic (re)construction, (mis)representation, and (mis)interpretation of al-mad na (the city), the study sheds critical light on the ways in which premodern Maghribi poets constructed idealized and demonized images of their home, host, and rival cities.


I received a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Comparative Literature, in association with the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. Before joining the University of Virginia, I had taught at the University of Toronto, Princeton University, and the University of Oklahoma. While my research interests are interdisciplinary and comparative in scope, I am particularly interested in medieval and early modern Islamic-European contacts, medieval and early modern Arabic-Islamic travel and diplomacy, North African and Andalusian studies, and classical Arabic-Islamic prose and poetry.