Elias Muhanna is an associate professor of Comparative Literature and History at Brown University. He earned his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations from Harvard University and has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Whiting Foundation.
His research focuses on the history of encyclopedic texts in the Islamic world and Europe, the cultural production of the Mamluk Empire, and the problem of the vernacular in different literary traditions. He is the author of The World in a Book: Al-Nuwayri and the Islamic Encyclopedic Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2018), as well as two translations: The Ultimate Ambition in the Arts of Erudition (Penguin Classics, 2016) and The Book of Travels (NYU Press).
Muhanna’s essays and criticism appear regularly in the mainstream press. He has written for The New Yorker, The London Review of Books, The New York Times, The Nation, and other periodicals.