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Sharif Youssef

Assistant Professor of English and Legal Studies, Ashoka University

Ph.D. University of Chicago

Sharif Youssef is Assistant Professor of English and Legal Studies at Ashoka University. He earned his PhD and M.A. in English and American Literature at the University of Chicago. In 2018, he completed his JD (Juris Doctor) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where he earlier earned an M.s.L. (Master of Studies of Law). He holds a B.A. in French Literature and English Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

During law school, Dr. Youssef served as an editor on the online journal Critical Analysis of Law: An International & Interdisciplinary Law Review. Prior to coming to Ashoka, Dr. Youssef held positions as Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College, and Lecturer of English at Clemson University.

He is writing a book titled The Actuarial Form: Moral Hazard in the Early Novel, which is about the emergence of risk and attendant concepts such as influence, incentive, information, and capacity as figured in the use of mass casualty statistics in literature and political economy. This work is about how risk grew out of a confluence of seventeenth and eighteenth-century genres like the novel, political economy, scientific empiricism, and theology. The project seeks to explain what the law & economics movement can learn from literature. An article from the manuscript has appeared in the journal entitled Law & Literature. His writing has also appeared in Humanity, Criticism, and Modern Language Quarterly. 

He has also begun a second book project about the origin of the refugee tentatively entitled Credible Fear, which is about legal counterfactuals and the literary worlds of violence, necessity, and fugitive movement that they generate. It is a study of works that address and theorize the state of forced migration in and between empires, and deals with such figures as refugees, civilians caught between royalists and rebels, fugitive slaves, and Islamic nomads.  He delivered the second chapter of this project while he was a scholar-in-residence at the Lehigh University Humanities Center.

Professor Youssef’s research interests include the Long Eighteenth Century, Transatlantic Literature, Romanticism, Law & Literature, Empire, Indigenous & First Nations Literature, Critical Refugee Studies, Islamic Studies, Literary Theory, Legal History.

  • “Refugees and the Rise of the Novel” in Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development (Forthcoming)

  • “Defoe contra Arius: The Rationalization of Risk” in Law and Literature, vol. 27, no. 1 (2015)

  • “Necessary Decisions” in Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development, vol. 8, no. 3 (Winter 2017)

  • “Are You My Internal Object?, review of Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama” in Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, vol. 58, no 3 (Summer 2016)

Publications

  • “Refugees and the Rise of the Novel” in Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development (Forthcoming)
  • “Defoe contra Arius: The Rationalization of Risk” in Law and Literature, vol. 27, no. 1 (2015)
  • “Necessary Decisions” in Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development, vol. 8, no. 3 (Winter 2017)
  • “Are You My Internal Object?, review of Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama” in Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts, vol. 58, no 3 (Summer 2016)

Edited Books

  • Human Rights and Corporate Personhood: An Uneasy Merger, eds. Jody Greene and Sharif Youssef (University of Toronto Press, Dec. 2020). 
  • “Inevitability,” a special issue of Modern Language Quarterly, eds. Ryan Vu and Sharif Youssef. vol. 76, n. 2. (2015) 
  • Introduction to Literary Theory 
  • Trauma and Event 
  • Neoliberal Theory 
  • Style
  • Privacy
  • Literature in the Age of Empire: 1660-1947 
  • Epic Histories
  • Zones: Zombies, Pandemic, Infrastructure
  • Introduction to Law and Literature
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