Skip to main content
English and Creative Writing Department

Diya Abdo, Ph.D.

Lincoln Financial Professor of English


+1 (336) 3162214


Diya Abdo is the Lincoln Financial Professor of English in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Guilford College.

A second-generation Palestinian refugee born and raised in Jordan, Dr. Abdo’s teaching, research, and scholarship focus on Arab women writers and Arab and Islamic feminisms. She has also published poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Her first book AMERICAN REFUGE: True Stories of the Refugee Experience was published in by Steerforth Press in 2022.

In 2015, Dr. Abdo founded Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR), which advocates for housing refugee families on college and university campus grounds and supporting them in their resettlement. The flagship chapter at Guilford College, now one of several ECAR campuses, has hosted 86 refugees thus far, including 16 Afghan evacuees.

Dr. Abdo is the recipient of the J.M. Kaplan Fund’s Innovation Prize (2021), Campus Compact’s Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award (2019), Gulf South Summit’s Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration in Higher Education Award (2017), and The Washington Center’s Civic Engagement in Higher Education Award (2017). In 2018, she was named a finalist in the Arab Hope Makers Award. She has been making presentations about ECAR far and wide, including the White House and the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Dr. Abdo sits on the Advisory Board of the Community Sponsorship Hub.

She lives in Greensboro, N.C., with her partner and two daughters. To learn more, visit the ECAR website or watch Dr. Abdo’s TEDtalk.


Drew University, NJ , Doctor of Philosophy, 2005
English Literature
Drew University, NJ, Master of Arts, 1998
English Literature
Yarmouk University, Jordan, Bachelor of Arts, 1996
English Language and Literature

Selected Scholarship


Abdo, Diya. AMERICAN REFUGE: True Stories of the Refugee Experience. T2P, Sunlight Edition. Steerforth Press. September, 2022.

Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Articles and Book Chapters:

Abdo, Diya. “Conditional Lives, Conditional Texts: Mona Mansour’s The Vagrant Trilogy.” The Vagrant Trilogy: Three Plays by Mona Mansour. Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama. Eds. Hala Baki and Michael Malek Najjar. September, 2022.

Abdo, Diya. “Teaching Tragedy: Towards a Pedagogy of Accountability -- The Every Campus A Refuge Model.” Displacement, Migration, and Higher Education: Now What? Palgrave MacMillan. Ed. Maria Hoehn. December, 2022.

Abdo, Diya and Maria Bobroff. “Look Who’s Laughing Now: A Comparative Study of Maghrebi Women Cartoonists.” Remembering Kahina: Representation and Resistance in Post-Independence North Africa. Routledge (UCLA’s CMED Book Series). Eds. Nabil Boudraa and Joseph Krause. 2021.

Abdo, Diya and Maria Bobroff. “Cross-Disciplinary Teaching of Mariama Bâ’s So Long a Letter.” Special joint issue of ADE & ADFL Bulletin, MLA.  January, 2019. 171-183.  

Abdo, Diya and Krista Craven. “Every Campus A Refuge: A Small College’s Engagement with Refugee Resettlement.” Migration and Society. Volume 1. December, 2018. 135-146.

Abdo, Diya and Maria Bobroff. “Don’t Claim to ‘Speak for’ Algerian Women: Reading Djebar across Disciplinary Borders?” Approaches to Teaching the Works of Assia Djebar. MLA. Ed. Anne Donadey. 2017. 52-58.

Abdo, Diya. “Go Underground, Young Women: Writing Selves in Miral Al-Tahawy's The Tent.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies. Volume 13. Issue 2. July, 2017. 265-286.

Abdo, Diya. “Islamic Feminism in a Western Classroom: Fatima Mernissi’s Powerful Model.” Special Issue of AMEWS E-Bulletin. March, 2016. 3-4.

Abdo, Diya. “My Qarina, My Self: The Homoerotic as Islamic Feminism in Alifa Rifaat’s ‘My World of   the Unknown.’”  Special issue of The Journal of Lesbian Studies: Lesbians, Sexuality and Islam. Volume 16. Issue 4. Fall 2012. 398-415.

Abdo, Diya. “Chameleonic Text: Peritextual Transformation in Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Trespass and Nisa' 'Ala Ajnihat Al-hilm.” Life Writing. Volume 7. Number 2. August, 2010. 175-194.

Abdo, Diya. “Textual Migration: Self-Translation and Translation of the Self in Leila Abouzeid’s Return to Childhood: The Memoir of a Modern Moroccan Woman and Ruju ‘Ila Tufula.Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. Volume 30. Issue 2. September, 2009. 1-42.

Abdo, Diya. “How to be a Successful Double Agent: Displacement as Strategy in Fadia Faqir’s Pillars of Salt” in Arab Voices in Diaspora: Critical Perspectives on Anglophone Arab Literature. Ed. Layla Almaleh. 2009.  237-270.

Abdo, Diya. “Redefining the Warring Self in Hanan Al-Shaykh’s The Story of Zahra and Frank McGuinness Carthaginians.” In Pacific Coast Philology, Journal of the PAMLA, Special Issue: Transoceanic Dialogues. Volume 42. Number 2. 2007. 217-237.

Abdo, Diya. “Sacred Frontiers: Looking for Fissures to Construct an Alternate Feminist Subjectivity” in Womanhood in Anglophone Literary Culture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Perspectives. Ed. Robin Hammerman, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2007. 269-308.

Abdo, Diya. “Narrating Little Fatima: A Picture is Worth 1001 Tales: ‘Multiple Critique’ in Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood.” Image and Narrative. Issue 19: Autofiction and/in Image. November, 2007.

Abdo, Diya. “Uncovering the Harem in the Classroom: Tania Kamal Eldin’s Covered: The Hejab  in Cairo, Egypt and Hollywood Harems within the context of a course on Arab women writers.” Women’s Studies Quarterly. Volume XXX. Numbers 1 & 2.  Spring/Summer 2002. 227-238.

Abdo, Diya. “The Emperor Jones: A Struggle for Individuality.” Eugene O’Neill Review. Volume 24.  Numbers 1 & 2. Spring/Fall 2000. 28-42.

Peer-Reviewed Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction:

Abdo, Diya. “You of the Long Shadow.” 20th Anniversary of 9/11: Poetry Anthology. Eds. Joseph Bathanti and David Potorti. Press 53. September, 2021.

Abdo, Diya. “Accidental Freedom.” Voices of Freedom.  Eds. Rima Abunasser and Mark Dennis. SUNY Press. (Forthcoming).

Abdo, Diya. “Blad.” Reprinted in America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance and Resilience, Sixteen Rivers Press. San Francisco, CA. September, 2018. 110.

Abdo, Diya and Nadia Yaqub. “In Loving Memory: Reflections on Rula Quawas.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies.  Volume 14. Issue 2, July, 2018. 259-263.

Abdo, Diya. “’And Is It Impossible to Be Good Everywhere?’ Love and Badness in America and the Arab World” Bad Girls of the Arab World. Eds. Rula Quawas and Nadia Yaqub. University of Texas Press. 2017. 37-48.

Abdo, Diya. “’And Is It Impossible to Be Good Everywhere?’ Love and Badness in America and the Arab World.” Reprinted in The Paris Review.  10/2/2017.       

Abdo, Diya. “Blad.” American Journal of Poetry. Volume 3. July, 2017. 

Abdo, Diya. “On Food and Other Weapons.” The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food. Ed. Randall Kenan. Eno Publishers, Hillsborough, NC. December, 2016. 145-150.

Abdo, Diya. “The Love Hoard” (short story; nominated for a Pushcart Prize). J Journal: New Writing on Justice. Fall 2015. 35-51.

Abdo, Diya. “Lariope.” Storm Cellar. Volume IV. Number 3. Summer, 2015. 29.

Abdo, Diya. “Sayf.” 27 Views of Greensboro: The Gate City in Prose and Poetry. Eno Publishers. Hillsborough, NC. 2015. 47-53.

Peer-Reviewed Public Essays:

Abdo, Diya. “Reimagining the University in a Time of Crisis” Jadaliyya.  September 28, 2015.

Abdo, Diya. “The Art of Posing.” Jadaliyya.  June 9, 2015.

Abdo, Diya. “The Most Valuable Lesson from Steven Salaita’s Visit to Guilford College.” The Electronic Intifada. February 5, 2015.

Abdo, Diya. “The Limits of Speaking on Catastrophe: Confessions of a Palestinian Teacher.” The Feminist Wire. September 12, 2014.

Book Reviews:

Abdo, Diya. Review of Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey, by Margriet Ruurs, Falah Raheem, and Nizar Ali Badr. Friends Journal. May. 2017.

Abdo, Diya. Review of The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English edited by Nouri Gana. Studies in the Novel. Volume 47. Number 1.Spring Issue. 2015. 124-125.

Invited Guest Essays:

Abdo, Diya. Review of Notes on the Flesh, by Shahd Al-Shammari. Middle Eastern Literatures. 22(1), pp. 58–59. 2020.

Abdo, Diya. “Campus Highlight: Every Campus a Refuge: Guilford College’s Engagement with the Refugee Crisis.” Bringing Theory to Practice. Winter Newsletter. 2018.

Abdo, Diya. “Every Campus A Refuge: A Small College’s Response to the Refugee Crisis.”    Campus Compact. Summer. 2017.