Bassam Frangieh

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Bassam Frangieh (Arabic: بسام فرنجيه) is a scholar of contemporary Arabic literature and culture. He is best known for his pedagogical innovations in the study of the Arabic language, as well as his translations of modern Arabic poets and novelists. Frangieh also lectures on the society and culture of the Arab world. A language professor as well as a scholar and writer, Frangieh has achieved moderate fame in the American academic world of Middle Eastern Studies for his engaging educational methods.

Education and career[edit]

Frangieh was born in a refugee camp in Lebanon in 1949.[1] His family, Palestinians who had owned an orange grove in Yaffa, had been relocated there due to the conflicts associated with the creation of the state of Israel. His family is distantly related to the famous Frangieh family of Lebanon, including former Lebanese president Suleiman Frangieh, but the Palestinian Frangieh family tree diverged from the Lebanese family tree several generations ago. Frangieh eventually moved to Syria to attend university, earning a B.A. from Damascus University in 1976. While in Syria, he earned fame as a boxing champion and professional soccer player. Frangieh attended graduate school in the United States, and received a Ph.D. in Arabic literature from Georgetown University in 1987. After receiving his doctorate, Frangieh taught Arabic at Georgetown for several years before accepting a position at Yale University. After his resignation from Yale in 2007, Frangieh joined Claremont McKenna College as a full-time Arabic professor and the head of the Arabic Department for the five Claremont Colleges while writing and researching new Arabic books. He is the head of the Middle East studies department.


In April 2010, The Claremont Independent, a right-leaning campus news magazine, wrote an article critical of Frangieh's signature on a petition by Workers in the Public Cultural Sphere in Lebanon.[2] The petition called for a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions that do not condemn Israeli aggression in Lebanon. The petition [3] stated that the signatories declare that they support Lebanese national resistance and dispute the logic that Hezbollah provided the "pretext" for Israeli invasion. The signatories instead asserted that Israeli military intervention in Lebanon is part of a constant stream of aggression going back to Israel's founding. As a response, the signatories condemned American support of Israel, Israeli military action, and the Lebanese government's decision to "not adopt" the Lebanese Resistance operation.[4] For these reasons, Noah Pollak of the pro-Israel[5] Commentary Magazine described the petition as "anti-Israel, pro-Hezbollah."[6]

The petition that Professor Frangieh signed was also signed by 455 other intellectuals, including professors at Oxford University, UCLA, Boston University, MIT, Yale, and Princeton, many of whom are critical of Israel. The petition included some "well known names" in the preface, including Norman G. Finkelstein and Tariq Ali.


Frangieh is a prolific author in both Arabic and English on contemporary Arabic literature. This is a list of some of his most prominent books and articles.


  • Arabic For Life: A Textbook for Beginning Arabic (2011)
  • Anthology of Arabic Literature, Culture, and Thought (2005)


  • The Crane (forthcoming), from Ṭā'ir al-Ḥawm by Ḥalīm Barakāt
  • Sun On A Cloudy Day (1997), from al-Shams fī Yawm Ghā'im by Ḥanna Mīna
  • Arabian Love Poems (1993), selected poems by Nizār Qabbānī

Scholarly works[edit]

  • al-Ightirāb fī al-Riwāyah al-Filisṭīnīyah (forthcoming)
  • Bahjat al-Iktishāf (2003)


  • Qassim Haddad: Irregular Rhythms of Life in Kalimat
  • Modern Arabic Poetry: Vision and Reality in Traditions, Modernity and Postmodernity in Arabic Literature
  • The Concept of Return in Issa Boullat's novel: Returning to Jerusalem in Dirāsāt `Arabīyah
  • Mahmoud Belaid: Ru'yah Tastashref Al Mustaqbal in Journal of the Arab Tunisian Union Writers


  1. ^ Toomajian, Martin (April 22, 2003). "Frangieh focuses on views of 'Arab street'". Yale Daily News. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ "PACBI-Statement by Workers in the Public Cultural Sphere in Lebanon". Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel. July 25, 2005. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Many intellectuals are backing Hizballah against the Lebanese government". Engage. July 27, 2006. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Buchanan, Patrick J. (March 24, 2003). "Whose War? A neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interest". The American Conservative. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ Pollak, Noah. "CMES and Man at Yale". Commentary Magazine. Retrieved October 25, 2011. 

External links[edit]