Jeff Sacks

Jeff Sacks

Associate Professor and Chair, Comparative Literature/Arabic

Ph.D., Arabic and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 2006

Office: HMNSS 2508
Email: jeffrey.sacks@ucr.edu


I was educated in Cairo, Beirut, Ann Arbor, Austin, and New York, where I earned a Ph.D. at Columbia University at the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society and the Department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (now the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies).

I write and teach around a series of questions, with which I’m engaged in various ways, separately and together, and which I’d list as follows: (1) poetics, (2) philology, (3) violence and the law, (4) Arabic poetry, (5) medieval Arabic philosophy, (6) Arab Jewish writing, (7) colonialism and the state, (8), deconstruction, (9) Ibn Khaldun, (10) Arabic and Islamic studies, (11) the question of Palestine, and (12) loss.

My first book, Iterations of Loss: Mutilation and Aesthetic Form, al-Shidyaq to Darwish (New York: Fordham UP, 2015), which reads nineteenth through twenty-first century texts in Arabic, Hebrew, and French, was awarded the Harry Levin Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association (2016).

I am presently writing two books. The first, about simplicity, is called “Simplicities: A Colonial Archive”; the second is called “For Decolonization: The Lyric Poem and the Question of Palestine.”



Iterations of Loss: Mutilation and Aesthetic Form, al-Shidyaq to Darwish (New York: Fordham UP, 2015).


Mahmoud Darwish, Why Did You leave the Horse Alone?, tr. Jeffrey Sacks (New York: Archipelago, 2006).


“New Texts Out Now: Jeffrey Sacks, ‘Iterations of Loss: Mutilation and Aesthetic form, al-Shidyaq to Darwish’.” Jadaliyya (2015).

Articles, Book Chapters, Reviews

Available here: https://ucriverside.academia.edu/JeffSacks

“The Philological Thesis: Language Without Ends.” boundary 2 48.1 (2021): 65-107.

“Fanon’s Insurgence.” Postcolonial Studies 23.2 (May 2020): 1-17.

“Philology Everywhere: World Literature and Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq’s Leg over Leg.” In A Companion to World Literature, ed. Ken Seigneurie (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2020), 4:1-11.

“The Politics of Death and the Question of Palestine.” Comparative Literature 71.4 (2019): 357-380.

“The Resistance to Boycott: Palestine, BDS, and the Modern Language Association.” Radical History Review 134 (May 2019): 233-243.

“Against Simplicity: The Languages of Pain in Talal Asad and Etel Adnan.” Modern Language Notes 133.5 (2018): 1304-1336.

“Philologesis: Adunīs, al-Maʿarrī, al-Fārābī.” Journal of Arabic Literature 49.3 (2018): 204-242.

“Poetic Theology: Paul and Form.” Political Theology 19.7 (2018): 629-637.

“Teaching Mahmoud Darwish.” In Arabic Literature for the Classroom, ed. Muhsin J. al-Musawi (New York: Routledge, 2017), 171-188.

“The Philological Present: Reading the Arabic Nineteenth Century.” Journal of Arabic Literature 47.1-2 (2016): 169-207.

“Palestine and Sovereign Violence.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 34.2 (2014): 368-389.

“Falling into Pieces, or Aḥmad Fāris al-Shidyāq and Literary History: A Love Letter.” Middle Eastern Literatures 16.3 (2013): 317-333.

“Untranslatability.” Modern Language Notes 126.5 (2011): 1083-1122.

“Reading with Darwish.” Journal of Palestine Studies 40.4 (2011): 104-106.

“Latinity.” CR: The New Centennial Review 9.3 (2009): 251-286.

“For Decolonization.” Arab Studies Journal 17.1 (2009): 110-134.

“Language Places.” In Mahmoud Darwish: Exile’s Poet, ed. Hala Khamis Nassar and Najat Rahman (Northampton, Mass.: Interlink Books, 2008), 239-272.

“Futures of Literature: Inhitat, Adab, Naqd.” diacritics 37.4 (2007): 32-55.