SOAS University of London

Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS)

July Blalack


Blalack July - CCLPS PHD IMG - 485 186 56
July Blalack
Email address:
Thesis title:
Travel Inside and Outside: Maghribi Resistance as a Literary Force
Internal Supervisors


In addition to my research on Arabic and World literature, I hold an MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from Middlebury College (2021). I taught Arabic as a Foreign Language at the University of Pennsylvania (2021) and the University of Virginia (2014). I also tutored Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Edinburgh (2020).


"Hidāyat man ḥārā fī amr al-Naṣāra: The Western Sahara's Missing Witness at the International Court of Justice?" Revue L'Ouest Saharien, January 2021. (Winner of the Mark Tessler Graduate Student Paper Prize from the American Institute of Maghrib Studies)

"Al-Shaikh Māʾ al-ʿAynain: Maghrebi-Saharan Literary Geographies on the Eve of Colonialism," The Journal of the African Literature Association, November 2020.

"The Migration of Resistance and Solidarity: ʻAbd al-Qādir al-Jazāʼirī's Promotion of Hijra," Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies, July 2020.

"Chapter 18: Mauritania," The Oxford Handbook of Arab Novelistic Traditions, Oxford University Press, 2017.

Review of Eric Calderwood, Colonial al-Andalus: Spain and the Making of Modern Moroccan Culture (Harvard University Press) for Reviews in History, 2019.

Review of Edmund Burke III, The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam (University of California Press) for Reviews in History, 2017.


“Space, Belonging, and Sība in the 19th c. Sahara,” ‘(Re)Conceptualizing the Sahara/Desert between the Local and the Global’ panel at Middle East Studies Association, Washington DC, October 2020

“Al-Sariqāt: Authorship, Plagiarism, and the Archive in Arabic Literature,” Comparative Literature MA seminar guest lecture at SOAS University of London, January 2020

“Māʾ al-ʿAynain and the International Court of Justice: Comparative Saḥrawi Belonging” ‘Embodiment and Belonging’ panel at African Studies Association, Boston, November 2019

“Bilād al-Shinquit in Precolonial Arabic Sources,” ‘Conceptualizing the Sahara: Images and Imaginings Across Languages and Locations’ panel at Middle East Studies Association, New Orleans, November 2019

"Ghosts of Smara: A Bilingual Reading of a Sufi City’s Memory” 'Reading Together the Politics of Representation' panel at Reading Together in Multilingual Contexts: Beyond Monolingual Methodologies, Università degli Studi di Napoli L'Orientale, April 2019

“Māʾ al-ʿAynain: Saharan Citizenship Before the Western Sahara " ‘Maghreb/ Sahara Studies’ panel at Southwest Graduate Conference in Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Arizona, March 2019

“The Case of Bringing Arabic Books to London Libraries,” at University Public Engagement with Urban Multilingualism, Manchester, February 2019

“Al-Riḥlah al-Maʻīnīyah: the Saharan Shaikh Encounters Colonialism and Pan-Islamic Resistance in Egypt,” ‘Transacting Arab Literary Modernity’ Presidential Theme panel at Modern Language Association, Chicago January 2019

“Travel Outside and Inside: Maghrebi Sufi Response to Foreign Invasion,” ‘Global Sufi Literatures: Tracing Significant Geographies of Maghrebi, Turkish, and Ethiopian Sufi Texts’ panel at Middle Eastern Studies Association, San Antonio November 2018

“Working Collaboratively in World Literature,” ‘Future of Collaborative Research in Europe’ panel at The Institute of World Literature, Copenhagen July 2017

“Arab Identities in Mauritanian Literature,” ‘Arabic Literature’ panel at Traversées Mauritanides 6ème édition: Littérature & Identités, Nouakchott December 2015 (in Arabic)

Public Writing and Presentations

"Movement and Multiplicity: Writing from Mauritania" feature for Words Without Borders, May 2021. 

“Significant Geographies of the Northwestern Sahara” PubHD talk, SOAS University of London, January 2019

Al-Amīr ʻAbd al-Qādir: Usṭūrah Adābiyah fī al-Gharb,” Al-Faisal Magazine, January 2019 (in Arabic)

‘”The Desert and the Drum”: Ethnography and the Mauritanian Novel,’, January 2019

‘”Outside Servitude”: A Novel Exploring Enslavement in Mauritania,’, February 2019

Love in a Time of Artificial Wombs,”, July 2018

Multilingual Poetry: Kwame Write in Paris, Accra, Copenhagen,” MULOSIGE: For a New Approach to World Literature, July 2017

To Win the Nobel Prize, Write in a European Language,” MULOSIGE: For a New Approach to World Literature, August 2017

Exploring Arabic Literature in Paris,” MULOSIGE: For a New Approach to World Literature, July 2017

Assa, Morocco: An Unwritten History?MULOSIGE: For a New Approach to World Literature, December 2017

Concrete Poetry: The Art of Words and Meaning,” MULOSIGE: For a New Approach to World Literature, October 2017

Morocco’s International Book Fair Emphasises Literary Exchange Across Africa,” MULOSIGE: For a New Approach to World Literature, March 2017

Education and Comparative Colonialisms,” MULOSIGE: For a New Approach to World Literature, March 2017

“Poetry from and About Timbuktu,” presentation at World Book Day for Secondary Schools, Routes Into Languages Program, SOAS University of London, March 2017