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Leila Easa (she/her) researches modes by which power determines how authors tilt the practice of disclosure through writing, speech, revision, excision, and silence. Her broad areas of focus include gender and ethnicity studies, poetics, elegy, and protest in the context of twentieth-century and contemporary American literature. Born to a Palestinian American father and Southern mother, Leila is interested in regional identities and the complex relationship Palestinians have to the concept of “home.”
Current Interests: Theories of the Lyric, Palestinian American Poetry, Protest and Palimpsest Poetry, Elegy and Memorialization, Dance and Literature, Literature and Cartography, Literary Translation, Feminist Citation, Fat Studies, Children's and Young Adult Literature
Public Feminism in Times of Crisis: From Sappho's Fragments to Global Hashtags (Lexington Books, August 2022), cowritten with Dr. Jennifer Stager.
Public Feminism in Times of Crisis is a book of essays in classical receptions and feminist criticism developed in connection to ongoing political and epidemiological crises and the significant intersectional feminist response to this moment. The book examines the public practice of feminism in the age of social media and analyzes the deep histories threaded through this new(er) enactment. Six chapters explore the Venus tradition and the archive; feminist biography and #MeToo as map; feminist translation; the collective lyric I and citational justice; virality and new materialism; and decentralized monuments and memorializing. The book’s methodology weaves together traditional academic research and public-facing media, practicing the very tools that it analyzes.
With gratitude to our editor and press, we have made a selection from our introduction open access.
"Overwriting the Monument Tradition: lists, loss, and scale,” cowritten with Jennifer Stager, appears in RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 75/76 (Fall 2021), https://doi.org/10.1086/717461.
While our contemporary moment invites necessary engagement with fallism (the practice of toppling monuments of symbols of oppressive power), we wish to instead identify and narrate a parallel heritage to that of the traditional figural monument critiqued by such practices. We suggest that this parallel tradition, which runs from ancient Greece to contemporary times, can itself offer new forms of possibility to engage and include a more diverse set of voices while also remaining grounded in historical precedent. Building on Athena Kirk’s theory of apodeixis, a practice of making a list visual, “Overwriting the Monument Tradition” traces this history of apodeictic monuments from the ancient Greek casualty lists set up in Athens in the fifth century BCE to Maya Lin’s Washington, DC Vietnam memorial to the epigraphs for one thousand of the first one hundred thousand deaths from Covid-19 in the United States on the cover of the New York Times on May 24, 2020 CE to contemporary poetry, protest, and performance. Ultimately, we argue that this tradition mobilizes naming and the poetic power of the list to elevate not singular hegemony but instead a plurality of raised voices.
Fellowships and Awards:
2022-2023 Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies fellow for the project “Palestinian American Women’s Poetry: Contesting and Constructing Home through Articulation and Embodiment”
2022-2023 University of California, Davis Provost’s Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
Graduate Student Association Travel Award, University of California, Davis, Fall 2022
James & Roberta Woodress Endowed Fund International Travel and Research Award, Spring 2023
MFA, San Francisco State University, Creative Writing
MA, University College London, Anglo-American Literary Relations
BA, Duke University, English
As part of the panel on Intersectionalities of the SWANA Bodies, Borders, Literatures at the Northeast Modern Language Association (University at Buffalo, March 23-26, 2023), I will present “Palestinian American Women's Poetry: Contesting and Constructing Home.”
In the wake of global restrictions on access to abortion care, Jennifer Stager and I will convene the session “Art and Abortion” (Association for Art History Conference, University College London, April 12-14, 2023).
Please see the Art and Abortion CFP.
In partnership with Johns Hopkins University’s The Hopkins Review, Jennifer Stager and I are putting together a folio on the relationships and tensions between the singular and the collective as explored in poetry, visual art, scholarship, and theory, among other genres, Locating a Collective Lyric I, to be published in November 2023.
Please see the Lyric I CFP.