Informed by a genuine pleasure in academic dialogue, Professor Sheehi’s teaching engages the nuances of identity and opens the door for his students to develop new and productive ways to think about the complex history of the Middle East. With great energy, intellectual playfulness, fresh ideas, and humor, he consistently leads civil discussions about highly contentious political issues. Students praise his “well-rounded” and confounding approach, with one writing, “The entire focus of this course was to complicate our perceptions … I am walking away from class enlightened and confused.…”
His teaching draws on an active record of research and publication, with three books published since 2014 (two more are forthcoming) on topics including translation theory and colonialism, the history of photography in the Arab world, psychoanalysis, Islamophobia, race, and class. All of which provide a fertile bed of knowledge for his wide-ranging courses about, for example, Arab visual culture, the Arab American experience, the culture of Arab food, and the trajectory from Orientalism to Islamophobia. Together these courses offer students spaces to explore the historical and cultural history of the Arabic world, and, crucially, the relationship of the United States to that world.
It is fitting that he now be recognized with the Arts & Sciences 2018 Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.