There is something about culture that comes alive in its circulation. 1 Whatever the private pleasures of reading a novel or watching a film – and whatever amount of solitude the artist occupied while he or she was creating the work of art – the interaction of reader or viewer with the creative work is inherently social.Anyone reading the words of another is put, however briefly, in a social interaction with their author – and, by extension, in a social relationship with others who also engage those words.
Brian T. Edwards is an associate professor of English and comparative literary studies and director of the Program in Middle East and North African Studies at Northwestern. He is the author of Morocco Bound: Disorienting America’s Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express (Duke University Press, 2005), which combines cultural history and literary criticism to show how Americans represented North Africa from World War II to the Vietnam era, and how contemporary Maghrebi writers and filmmakers have responded. Edwards is co-editor of Globalizing American Studies (University of Chicago Press, 2010), a collection that provides global perspectives on US history and culture. He has lectured extensively, including in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, India and Europe, and been visiting faculty at the University of Tehran, EHESS (Paris) and University College Dublin. He has won fellowships from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Fulbright grants to Morocco, Egypt and Italy. Edwards is completing a book entitled “After the American Century: Ends of Circulation in Cairo, Casablanca, and Tehran.” He received his PhD from Yale University.