Dr. Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab

Elizabeth Suzanne KassabCurriculum Vitae

Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab studied philosophy at the American University of Beirut and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), where she obtained her doctorate degree with the thesis on “The Theory of Social Action in the Schutz-Parsons Debate”. She was subsequently postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bielefeld, before teaching first at the American University of Beirut, and then at the University of Balamand. In 1999, Dr. Kassab received a Fulbright scholarship at New School University, New York. She was then visiting scholar at Columbia University, before researching at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies as Visiting Associate Professor from 2006 to 2007 and holding a post as Arcapita Visiting Professor at the Middle East Institute of Columbia University in 2008. From 2008 to 2009, Dr. Kassab was further research fellow at the Orient Institut Beirut, which forms part of the Max Weber Foundation. In 2010, she was guest researcher at the department for West-Asian History at the University of Erfurt’s faculty of history, before moving on to the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies at FU Berlin in 2011. In the spring semester of 2012, Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab was visiting professor at the Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown University. From October 2013 until September 2014, she was fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.

Her research interests lie both in Western and post-colonial cultural philosophy, with particular focus on contemporary Arab thought, as well as studies into cultural crisis, authenticity and critique. Dr. Kassab received the 2013 Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the category “Contribution to the Development of Nations” for the Arabic version of her latest book “Contemporary Arab Thought: Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective” (2010).

Research Project

Arab thought and Arab revolts: Intellectual critique and political protestation. Arab intellectuals as legislators

Dr Kassab pursues her work on contemporary Arab thought by examining the interface of intellectual critique and political protestation in the Arab world, before and after the recent Arab revolutions. In her current project she studies a number of debates on enlightenment and empowerment that took place in Syria, Egypt and the Maghreb during the last 3 decades. She looks at the self-reflection of critical Arab thinkers in this interface between critique and politics, especially since the eruption of the popular uprisings. During her year at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”, she will focus on the commitment of a number of Arab intellectuals to various efforts of legal reform since 2011.

Selected Publications

  • The Arab Quest for Freedom and Dignity: Have Arab Thinkers Been Part of It?, in: Middle East – Topics and Arguments 01 (2013): 26-34.
  • Contemporary Arab Thought: Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective, New York: Columbia University Press 2010.
  • Is Europe an Essence?, in: International Studies in Philosophy 34/4 (2002): 55-75.
  • Phenomenologies of Culture and Ethics: Ernst Cassirer, Alfred Schutz and the tasks of a philosophy of culture, in: Human Studies 25/1 (2002): 55-88.
  • An Arab Neo-Kantian Philosophy of Culture: Constantine Zurayk on culture, reason, and ethics, in: Philosophy East and West 49/4 (1999): 494-512.
  • The Theory of Social Action in the Schutz-Parsons Debate: social action, social personality and social reality in the early works of Schutz and Parsons: a critical study of the Schutz-Parsons correspondence, Dissertation, Fribourg, Suisse: Editions Universitaires 1991.
  • “Paramount Reality” in Schutz and Gurwitsch, in: Human Studies 14/2-3 (1991): 181-198.