Category Archives: Blog


Life in Isolation
As I begin my fourth month in quarantine here in the People’s Republic of China, I am thinking alot of my time in the desert on the Arabian Peninsula and Turkmenistan (where I had the privilege to live twice) and my annual adventures summering in a yurt on the steppe in Mongolia. I am grateful for my prolonged experiences of isolation in many remote landscapes (where I usually do not have access to the internet like I currently do in China) to help me stay sane and resilient in quarantine for months to come.
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Quarantine in China…

Anubis in China

I am beginning my fourth month of coronavirus quarantine in Chengdu, but I have been keeping busy. In addition to practicing tai chi on my balcony, I have been taking private Chinese lessons online three times a week—already covered a year’s worth of material!  Learning a new language or skill keeps the brain engaged and paves the way for new experiences in the future.

I derive great joy from teaching online classes for my university students in China, whose resilience and hard work impress and inspire me.  Teaching others or being of service fosters feelings of connection and purpose.

Comedy, I’ve found, is a great way to stay positive.  I like to tune into comedian Maria Bamford’s live stand-up sessions on Zoom to watch her develop new material.  Her new special Weakness is the Brand, along with Schitt’s Creek and Curb Your Enthusiasm, had me chuckling through the tears and fears of quarantine.

If resources allow, therapy is an excellent sanity preserver and lifesaver.  Free online support groups also provide solace and solidarity.  Yoga and Zen meditation groups on Zoom are prime ways to get in the zone.

There is no place I would rather be right now than China, where I have felt safe and protected.  But I am very worried about my family and friends back home.

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Harvard Law School: My New Islamic Law Article…

Harvard Law School's SHARIASource

Harvard Law School’s SHARIASource

I am happy to share my new article on Islamic law published by Harvard Law School’s SHARIASource: Assembling Clones: Adjudicating Future Bodies in Shīʿī Jurisprudence.

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New Piece: Coronavirus Quarantine Life in China


Coronavirus reality in China

I am happy to share with you my new Counterpunch article, Between the Quarantine and Quakes: Coronavirus Life in China, which discusses my current reality of living through the coronavirus outbreak from the frontlines!

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Rimbaud in Yemen & Ethiopia…


Rimbaud abroad

I am happy to share that my latest article has been published in the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 13.4 (2019): “Geographies of Disability in the Letters of Rimbaud: Mapping Colonialism and Disablement in Yemen and Ethiopia.” I have been too busy to blog lately as I have been giving lectures/papers/keynotes in China, India, Algeria, and Belgium–but if I ever finally catch up to myself, expect many photos to come from around the world!

Abdunasir A. Garad, curator of the Arthur Rimbaud Cultural Centre in Harar

With Abdunasir A. Garad, curator of the Arthur Rimbaud Cultural Centre in Harar, Ethiopia

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Harvard & the Taj Mahal…


Whirling around India

I had the honor of being Harvard’s guest speaker in India this fall. What a joy to lecture on the Taj Mahal–and then explore the Taj Mahal together in person!


Right this way

Fortunately we entered the Taj Mahal complex at an early hour to avoid the crowds–so we could whirl around this architectural treasure without any hindrance. It was so lovely to be back at the Taj Mahal and see it again with fresh eyes. I have been very busy traveling (China, India, Algeria, and beyond), but when I get some time, I will post more photos from our grand adventure through “Mystic India.”


Welcome to India

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