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Home > Academics > Divisions > Arts and Humanities > Comparative Literature
Comparative Literature

Ali Jimale AhmedAli Jimale Ahmed

Ali Jimale Ahmed is Chair and Professor of Comparative Literature at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Creative teaching is, for Ahmed, one of the cornerstones of academic learning. It incorporates Socratic methods of questioning, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of education as a two-way traffic. Through college education, students endeavor to form their own "internally persuasive discourse" (Bakhtin). As teachers, it is our responsibility to avail our students of a whole, diverse gamut of ideas which will contribute to the formation of their own discourses. To achieve this aim, Ahmed's students are constantly asked to read disciplines and texts in relation to and against one another. Reading in this context underlines the need to see the interconnectedness of our world, while at the same time not glossing over the vast differences that exist. In relation to this, Ahmed is a firm believer in the de-compartamentalization of disciplines, for no discipline is by itself capable of capturing the inner pulse of a nation. The suggestion implied here is best described by the African parable of the elephant and the three blind men.

Neither the tusk, nor the rough skin, nor the soft ears of an elephant would individually give a holistic picture of what an elephant really is.

Research interests include the novel genre in the third world: Islamic literature; Literature and Politics; Fiction Across Cultures; Immigrant Literature; Greed in Literature and Film; Madness and Literature; the Poetics and noetics of orature.


Ahmed's Books Ahmed's poetry and short stories have been translated into several languages. His most recent book is Fear is a Cow (Red Sea Press 2002).

Ahmed also teaches for both the World Studies Program and the Department of Classical, Middle Eastern & Asian Languages & Cultures.

Grants and Awards

  • Co-Director (with I.L. Markovitz) of NEH Summer Seminars for Teachers Presidential Mini-Grant Award for Innovative Teaching Project. 
  • 1994 winner of the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

 Office Information

Chair: Ali Jimale Ahmed
Dept. Office: Kissena 259
Phone: 718-997-5690
Fax: 718-997-5745

Summer 2014 Hours

The Comparative Literature Department will be open normally Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm for Summer 2014. We will be closed between 2:35 pm - 3:35 pm.

June 2014: The department will ONLY be OPEN on the following days:
Monday 6/2
Tuesday 6/10
Monday 6/16
Monday 6/23
Monday 6/30
All other days the department will be CLOSED.

July 2014: The department will be open Monday through Thursday.
CLOSED 7/4 (Independence Day)
CLOSED 7/9 through 7/14
CLOSED on Fridays: 7/18 and 7/25.

August 2014: The department will be open Monday through Thursday.
CLOSED on Fridays: 8/1 and 8/8.
CLOSED 8/11 through 8/18.

It is best to contact the department via email at or leave a voice message at the department extension: 718-997-5690.

Additional contacts are:

Summer Chair:
Prof. Christopher Winks
Phone: 718-997-5697

Prof. Ali Jimale Ahmed

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