Diya Abdo, Ph.D.
English Department

Diya Abdo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English


Archdale Hall 114

Dr. Diya Abdo is Associate Professor of English in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. A first-generation Palestinian, born and raised in Jordan, Dr. Abdo's teaching, research and scholarship focus on Arab women writers and Arab and Islamic feminisms with a particular interest in Arab women writers’ narrative strategies, life writing, and the cross-cultural translation of autobiography. She has also published poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Her public essays focus on the intersection of gender, political identity, and vocation. In 2015, Dr. Abdo founded the Every Campus A Refuge (ECAR) initiative which advocates for housing refugee families on college and university campus grounds and assisting them in resettlement. Guilford College, now one of several ECAR campuses, has hosted 42 refugees so far – 23 of them children – from Syria, Iraq, Uganda, and the DRC. Under this program, each refugee family is temporarily housed (for an average of 5 months) in available campus houses or apartments and is provided with free rent, utilities, Wi-Fi, use of college facilities and resources, as well as a large community of support in the form of the college campus and its friends. The daily work of hosting and assisting in resettlement is done by trained college and community volunteers. For her work on ECAR, Dr. Abdo was named a finalist in the Arab Hope Makers Award (2018) and, along with ECAR, has received the Gulf South Summit’s 2017 Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration in Higher Education Award and The Washington Center’s 2017 Civic Engagement in Higher Education Award. She has been making presentations about ECAR far and wide, including at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.



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

Selected Scholarship

Peer-Reviewed Scholarly Articles and Book Chapters:

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. Texas University Press. 2017. Republished in The Paris Review 10/2/2017.

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.

Abdo, Diya. “Go Underground, Young Women: Writing Selves in Miral Al-Tahawy's The Tent.” JMEWS. Duke Press. Volume 13:2, July, 2017.

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

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. Routledge. Fall 2012.  398-415.

Abdo, Diya. “Chameleonic Text: Peritextual Transformation in Fatima Mernissi’s Dreams of Trespass and Nisa' 'Ala Ajnihat Al-hilm” in Life Writing. Volume 7. Number 2. Routledge. 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. University of Nebraska Press. 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, part of Rodopi Press's Cross/Cultures: Readings in the Post/Colonial Literatures in English series.  November, 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 (Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, the Western Regional Division of the MLA), 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 edited by 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” in 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. Nos. 1 & 2, Spring/Fall 2000. 28-42.

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

Abdo, Diya and Nadia Yaqub. “In Loving Memory: Reflections on Rula Quawas.” JMEWS. Duke Press. Volume 14:2, July, 2018.

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.

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

Abdo, Diya.  “Lariope” (poem). Storm Cellar. Volume IV, No.3. 29. Summer. 2015. 

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

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. Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey. Book Review. Friends Journal. May 2017.

Abdo, Diya. The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English. Book Review. Studies in the Novel. Spring 2015 Issue (Vol. 47, No. 1).


Abdo, Diya and Maria Bobroff. “Cross-Disciplinary Teaching of Mariama Bâ’s So Long a Letter.” Special joint issue of ADE & ADFL Bulletin, MLA.  September, 2018.

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

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

Invited Guest Essays:

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

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