Skip to main content
headshot_Betty Rosen

Dr Betty Rosen

Research Associate

Contact details

Pronouns

she/her

Biography

I am a postdoctoral researcher on Professor Emma Dillon's UKRI-funded Musical Lives project. Before coming to King's, I earned my Ph.D. in Arabic and Hebrew Literature from the University of California, Berkeley's Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures and Program in Critical Theory. My doctoral dissertation, Language Marvels: Al-Badī' In and Beyond Arabic-Islamic Poetics, argued for a renewed, translinguistic and -confessional consideration of the conceptual, affective, and creative work done by a key term associated with Arabic and Islamic aesthetics and poetics (al-badī'), with particular focus on Mamluk Egypt (1250-1517). I previously earned an MA in Arabic Literature from SOAS University of London (2013) and an A.B. in Comparative Literature from Harvard College (2012), and I have also studied Arabic in Egypt and Morocco. My academic interest in the embodied immediacy and synesthetic richness of poetic performance are intimately connected to my identity as both a creative writer and a violist from a family of musicians.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Arabic and Hebrew Language & Literature
  • Literary & Critical Theory
  • Theories of creativity
  • Islamic & Jewish Studies; Rhetoric

My work seeks first and foremost to take concepts of “premodern” Arabic and Hebrew poetics and aesthetics seriously on their own terms, as they make themselves known through contextualized close readings of primary texts. I am also invested in considering how doing so might in turn contribute to a more genuinely pluralistic interdisciplinary discourse on ideas such as “creativity,” “craft,” “rhetoric,” and “the literary” more broadly. How, I ask, does it feel to engage with language in a way that might be described as “creative”—and how might the answer to that question might blur the lines between active literary production and passive consumption?

I am fond of texts that have often been derided as stylistically “mannerist” or “overly ornamented,” as well as those that cross between languages (e.g. Arabic and Hebrew), registers (formal and colloquial Arabic), and/or poetic genres (“sacred” and “secular,” “didactic” and mystical love poetry). Although my focus is primarily on Egypt, Syria, Morocco, and Yemen during the 12th-15th centuries, I have also written on 19th- and 20th-century authors for whom older ideas about language and creativity are or were very much still vital and relevant. My work on MUSLIVE centers on how poets working in Arabic and/or Hebrew across the medieval Mediterranean and Red Sea experienced linguistic “creativity,” as well as how networks formed around and transmitted such modes of engagement and multisensory attunement. 

 Teaching

I have taught Arabic language to both university and secondary school students. At UC-Berkeley, I designed and was the sole instructor of several writing-intensive courses that sought to expose students to the incredibly diverse ethnic, religious, linguistic, political, and social landscapes and lived experiences of the SWANA region. In collaboration with Berkeley professors, I also taught on American political rhetoric and Ancient Greek and Roman rhetoric.

Research

1. muslive_logo_full
Musical Lives: Towards an Historical Anthropology of French Song, 1100-1300 (MUSLIVE)

MUSLIVE is an interdisciplinary project which approaches one of the earliest written European vernacular as a transnational social practice.

Project status: Ongoing

Research

1. muslive_logo_full
Musical Lives: Towards an Historical Anthropology of French Song, 1100-1300 (MUSLIVE)

MUSLIVE is an interdisciplinary project which approaches one of the earliest written European vernacular as a transnational social practice.

Project status: Ongoing