Mohamed-Salah Omri


Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature

Faculty / College Address:

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies / St John's College


Research Interests:

Key research interests include modern and pre-modern Arabic literature; Francophone literature of the Maghreb; Comparative and world Literatures; literature and history; cultural politics; Tunisian culture and society.  

Courses Taught:

Teaching includes the papers:

  • Arabic literature core papers
  • Arabic literature and nationalism
  • Introduction to Arab literary and image culture
  • Arabic narratives of modernity
  • Arabic short story

Recent Publications:

Selected Books:

  • 2016 Co-editor with Mohsen El Khouni and Mouldi Guessoumi, University and society in the context of Arab revolutions and new humanism, (Tunis: Rosa Luxembourg Foundation), 300 pp.  ISBN: 978-9938-14-987-6.
  • 2016 Confluency (tarafud) between trade unionism, culture and revolution in Tunisia (Tunis: UGTT information and documentation unit). ISBN 978-9938-14-374-4.


  • 2015 Co-Editor with Matthew Reynolds, Ben Morgan and Celine Sabiron, Special issue, Comparative Criticism and Methods in Comparative Critical Studies 12:2 (2015)
  • 2010 Co-editor with Maria Fusaro and Colin Heywood. Trade and cultural exchange in the early Modern Mediterranean: Braudel’s maritime legacy (London: I.B. Tauris), 340 pp.  reviews:

  • 2007 Guest Editor, The Novelization of Islamic Literatures: the intersections of Western, Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Turkish Traditions in Comparative Critical Studies, 4:3.
  • 2006 Nationalism, Islam and World Literature: sites of confluence in the writings of Mahmud al-Mas’adi (London and New York: Routledge), 192 pp.

(Review: William Granara, Middle Eastern Literatures, Vol. 12, 2, 2009: pp. 2-5)     (

Selected articles and chapters in books

  • 2017 in «Justice (poétique) transitionnelle: écriture et démocratisation en Tunisie » in  Littératures et transitions démocratiques (Madrid: Casa Valesquez)  (Forthcoming in 2017).
  • 2016 “Humanism in times of torture” in University and society in the context of Arab revolutions and new humanism, (edits. Mohsen El Khouni, Mouldi Guessoumi and Mohamed-Salah Omri (Tunis: Rosa Luxembourg Foundation), 105-120
  • 2015 “Min ajl nadhariyah fi al-tarafud al-adabi” (Towards a theory of literary confluency) in The comparative lesson and the dialogue of literatures (Tunis: Bayt al Hikma), 13-52. ISBN: 978-9973-49-159-6.
  • 2012 “The movement Perspectives: Legacies and representations”, EuroOrient, vol. 38 (2012), 149-164. 
  • 2012 “A Revolution of Dignity and Poetry”, boundary 2, 39: 1 (2012) (137-166).    
  • 2011 “Notes on the Traffic between Theory and Arabic Literature”, International Journal of Middle East Studies.  Roundtable: Arabic literature and literary theory., 43 (2011), 731-733.
  • 2010 “Representing the Early-modern Mediterranean in Contemporary North Africa” in Maria Fusaro, Colin Heywood and Mohamed-Salah Omri, eds. Trade and Cultural exchange in the early Modern Mediterranean: Braudel’s maritime legacy.  (London: I.B. Tauris), 279-298.
  • 2010 “Abu al-Qasim al-Shabbi” in Essays in Arabic Literary Biography, 1850-1950. Ed. Roger Allen (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag), 292-303. 
  • 2008 “Local Narrative Form and the Construction of the Arabic Novel”, Novel 41 (Spring/Summer 2008), 244-263.
  • 2006 “Voicing a Culture ‘Dispersed by Time’:  Metropolitan Location and Identity in the Art and Literature of Sabiha al Khemir” in Arab Voices in Diaspora, eds. Ian Netton and Zahia Salhi. (London and New York: Routledge), 53-75.
  • 2005 “Literature, History and Settler Colonialism in North Africa,” Modern Language Quarterly, 66.3, 273-298.
  • 2003 “Evocation and Mimesis: al-Muwaylihi, al-Mas’adi and the Narrative Tradition,” Edebiyat, 14 (1-2), 57-79.
  • 2003 “Collective Memory and Representation in Tunisian Literature” in Francophone Post-Colonial Cultures: Critical Essays, ed. Salhi, Kamal (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books), 52-63.
  • 2000 “Adab in the Seventeenth Century: Narrative and Parody in al-Shirbini’s Hazz al-Quhuf,” Edebiyat, 11: 2, 169-196.
  • 2000 “Memory and Representation in Mellah’s Novels,” International Journal of Francophone Studies. 3:1, 33-41.
  • 1998 “‘There is a Jahiz for Every Age’: Narrative Construction and Intertextuality in al-Hamadhani’s Maqamat,” Arabic and Middle Eastern Literatures 1, 31-46.

Omri is Chair of the Committee on comparative histories of Islamic literatures, a research committee of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA). (2016 - );  founding member of Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (Website: (2014 - ); founding member of the project Arab Revolutions and New Humanism, and interdisciplinary programme in collaboration with universities in Tunis and the US (2013 - ) funded in part by Rosa Luxemburg Foundation; member, research network on Literature and democracy (xix- xxi centuries), theoretical, historical and comparative approaches, funded by CNRS, France and directed by Philippe Roussin (2016 - 2020).  Research for Omri’s present book project has been supported by Leverhulme Research Fellowship for 2015-2016.

Omri is also a frequent commentator on Tunisia in Anglophone and Arab media. 

Further Info:

Professor Omri holds a BA from the University of Tunis and MA and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis, USA. Before joining the University of Oxford, Professor Omri was Associate Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Washington University. Prior to this, he was Senior Lecturer and Director of the Centre for Mediterranean Studies at the University of Exeter in Britain from 1998 to 2007.

Photograph of Mohamed-Salah Omri