John Tofik Karam

 John Karam

Contact Information

4110 Foreign Languages Building
707 S. Mathews Avenue, MC-176
Urbana, IL 61801-3674
Associate Professor
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Additional Campus Affiliations

Research Interests

  • Area and Ethnic Studies, Diaspora and Transnational Studies

Research Description

John Tofik Karam contributes to the transnational turn in area and ethnic studies by reframing South America and the Middle East through their mutually entangled histories. His first book, Another Arabesque: Syrian-Lebanese Ethnicity in Neoliberal Brazil, won awards from the Arab American National Museum and the Brazilian Studies Association. It was translated by the Editora Martins Fontes into Portuguese and by the Centre for Arab Unity Studies into Arabic. With María del Mar Logroño Narbona and Paulo G. Pinto, Karam coedited the volume, Crescent over Another Horizon: Islam in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino U.S.A.. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, his current book project is titled, “Manifold Destiny: Arabs in an Exceptional Borderland of the Americas.” With Akram Khater and Andrew Arsan, he co-founded and co-edited the peer-reviewed Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies, http://go.ncsu.edu/mashriq. Published in the journal's inaugural issue, his article, “The Lebanese Diaspora at the Tri-Border and the Redrawing of South American Geopolitics, 1950-1992,” was awarded the best article prize by the Brazil Section of the Latin American Studies Association. In 2017, he was named Associate Director of the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies and Conrad Humanities Scholar.

Grants

Courses

  • Introduction to Latin America
  • Writing Migration into Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Brazil in Hemispheric Context
  • Culture and Power in Brazil
  • The Telenovela
  • Brazil as Global Power
  • Contemporary Brazil

Selected Publications

Books

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Crescent over Another Horizon: Islam in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino U.S.A. Austin University of Texas Press 2015. University of Texas Press.
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Another Arabesque: Syrian-Lebanese Ethnicity in Neoliberal Brazil Philadelphia Temple University Press 2007. Temple University Press.
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Um outro arabesco: Etnicidade sírio-libanesa no Brasil neoliberal São Paulo Martins Fontes 2009. Martins Fontes Editora.
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Zakhrafah ʻArabīyah min nawʻ ākhar : al-ithnīyah al-Sūrīyah-al-Lubnānīyah fī al-Barāzīl al-nīyūlībrālīyah Beirut Centre for Arab Unity Studies 2012. Centre for Arab Unity Studies Press.

Journal Articles

I, Too, Am the Americas: Arabs in the Redrawing of Area and Ethnic Studies Journal of American Ethnic History 37 3 2018.
Philip Hitti, Brazil, and the Diasporic Histories of Area Studies.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 46 3 2014.
On the Trail and Trial of a Palestinian Diaspora: Mapping South America in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1967-1972 Journal of Latin American Studies 45 4 2013.
The Lebanese Diaspora at the Tri-Border and the Redrawing of South American Geopolitics, 1950-1992 Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies 1 1 2013.
Crossing the Americas: The U.S. ‘War on Terror’ and Arab Cross-Border Mobilizations in a South American Frontier Region Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 31 2 2011.
Anti-Semitism from the Standpoint of its Arab Victims in a South American Frontier Zone Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 6 2 2011.
Historias musulmanas en América Latina y el Caribe Istor: Revista de Historia Internacional 12 45 2011.
Belly Dancing and the (En)Gendering of Ethnic Sexuality in the ‘Mixed’ Brazilian Nation Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 6 2 2010.
A Cultural Politics of Entrepreneurship in Nation-Making: Phoenicians, Turks, and the Arab Commercial Essence in Brazil The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 9 2 2004.
Intensified Eth(n)ics: Arab Brazilians and the ‘Imagined State’ in Neoliberal São Paulo PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 26 1 2003.

Book Contributions

Comércio Exterior: Papel da Comunidade Libanesa Brasil e Líbano: Legado e Futuro Comércio Exterior: Papel da Comunidade Libanesa Brasília Ministério das Relações Exteriores/FUNAG 2017.
Beside Bandung: Historicizing Brazil in the América do Sul-Países Árabes Summit Latin America and the Middle East Beside Bandung: Historicizing Brazil in the América do Sul-Países Árabes Summit Kaslik USEK Press 2015.
A pista e a pena da diáspora palestina: Mapeando a América do Sul no conflito israelo-árabe, 1967-1972 Entre o Velho e o Novo Mundo: A diáspora palestina desde o Oriente Médio à América Latina A pista e a pena da diáspora palestina: Mapeando a América do Sul no conflito israelo-árabe, 1967-1972 Lisboa Chiado Editora 2015.
Latino America in the Umma / the Umma in Latino America Crescent over Another Horizon: Islam in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino U.S.A.. Latino America in the Umma / the Umma in Latino America Austin University of Texas Press 2015.
African Rebellion and Refuge on the Edge of Empire Crescent over Another Horizon: Islam in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino U.S.A.. African Rebellion and Refuge on the Edge of Empire Austin University of Texas Press 2015.
The Politics of Anti-Zionism and Racial Democracy in Homeland Tourism The Middle East and Brazil: Perspectives on the New Global South The Politics of Anti-Zionism and Racial Democracy in Homeland Tourism Bloomington Indiana University Press 2014.
Turcos in the Mix: Corrupting Arabs in Brazil’s Racial Democracy Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora Turcos in the Mix: Corrupting Arabs in Brazil’s Racial Democracy Ann Arbor University of Michigan Press 2013.
Muslim Histories in Latin America and the Caribbean An Introduction to Islam in the 21st Century Muslim Histories in Latin America and the Caribbean New York Wiley-Blackwell 2013.
Atravessando as Américas: A ‘guerra ao terror,’ os árabes e as mobilizações transfronteiriças desde Foz do Iguaçu e Ciudad del Este A Tríplice Fronteira: espaços nacionais e dinâmicas locais Atravessando as Américas: A ‘guerra ao terror,’ os árabes e as mobilizações transfronteiriças desde Foz do Iguaçu e Ciudad del Este Curitiba Universidade Federal do Paraná 2011.
Atravesando las Américas: la guerra contra el terror, los árabes y las movilizaciones transfronterizas en Foz de Iguazu y Ciudad del Este La Triple Frontera: dinámicas culturales y procesos transnacionales Atravesando las Américas: la guerra contra el terror, los árabes y las movilizaciones transfronterizas en Foz de Iguazu y Ciudad del Este Buenos Aires Espacio Editorial 2010.
Margins of Memory on the Rua 25 de Marco: Constructing the Syrian-Lebanese Past in São Paulo, Brazil Arabs in the Americas: Interdisciplinary Essays on the Arab Diaspora Margins of Memory on the Rua 25 de Marco: Constructing the Syrian-Lebanese Past in São Paulo, Brazil New York Peter Lang Publishers 2006.

Magazine Articles

Fios árabes, tecido brasileiro: desde o início do século XX, sírios, libaneses e palestinos exercem sua astúcia comercial nos quatro cantos do País Revista de História da Biblioteca Nacional 2009.

In The News

  • Prof. John Karam has been awarded the Conrad Humanities Professorial Scholar Award. These awards are designed to recognize tenured faculty members who are established or emerging leaders with exceptionally strong scholarly recognition and significant promise for continued achievement.