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Mark Firmani




I am a doctoral candidate in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. In July of 2023, I will be a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College, continuing as an Assistant Professor in the department in July of 2024.

My dissertation examines how contemporary Iraqi fiction—written in the context of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq—provides a rich resource for challenging the legitimacy of international law, questioning the ideologies of the current global order, and understanding the political economy of literary translation. Specifically, I explore how Iraqi writers use genre-fiction conventions to attract the attention of Anglophone translators and publishing houses while also leveraging those conventions to critique the purported legality of the invasion and occupation. Reading both in Arabic and in translation, I track changes in vocabulary, grammar, and structural genre elements to argue that Iraqi writers intervene in and alter the genres they employ.

I also write about administrative and international law, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between law and technology, financial regulation, the laws of war and sanctions, and critical approaches to mainstream international law. Other interests include the legal history of colonialism, imperialism, and administrative law; portrayals of artificial intelligence in film, literature, and law; and the relationship between law and culture.


Articles and Book Chapters

"Translation" Elgar Concise Encyclopedia of Law and Literature (2023)
"At War with Monsters in Postwar Iraqi Literature" Los Angeles Review of Books (2018)
"Review: Baghdad Noir" Middle Eastern Literatures (2018)

Courses Taught

fall 2018

spring 2017