Professor Granara teaches Arabic language and literature and directs the Arabic language program at Harvard University . He studied Arabic at Georgetown University and received his PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania . He is the former executive director of the Center for Arabic Study at the American University in Cairo and the former director of the Arabic Field School of the U.S. Department of State in Tunis , Tunisia. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Granara specializes in the history and culture of Muslim Sicily. He has written on cross-cultural encounters between Islam and Christendom throughout the Middle Ages, as well as the poetry of Ibn Hamdis, Sicily's most celebrated Arab poet. His study of "Ibn Hamdis and the Poetics of Exile" was published in the 1998 issue of Edebiyaat. In addition, he lectures and writes on contemporary Arabic literature and has published translations of Egyptian and North African fiction. His translation into English of the Algerian Arabic novel, The Earthquake, was published in March, 2000. His work on literary criticism focuses on postcolonialism and cross cultural poetics.