Cornell University
Maurice Amado Foundation Fellowship

Research Topic

Jewish Literature and the Cultural Imaginaries of Cosmopolitan Egypt


Deborah Starr is an associate professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. She teaches courses on cosmopolitanism, postcolonial studies, minorities of the Middle East, film, and urban studies. She is currently at work on a new book about minorities in Egyptian cinema from the 1930s to the 1950s. 

Starr received her PhD at the University of Michigan. She has previously held fellowships at the American University in Cairo, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at the Katz Center (2004–2005, Modern Jewish Literatures).

Selected publications

  • “Chalom and ‘Abdu Get Married: Jewishness and Egyptianness in the Films of Togo Mizrahi,” Jewish Quarterly Review 107.2 (2017) 
  • Remembering Cosmopolitan Egypt: Literature, Culture, and Empire (Routledge, 2009)



Delving into the meaning of modernity beyond the European, American, and Israeli contexts, looking instead to North Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central and South Asia.


Meditating on modern Jewish literature in its entirety and all its methods of study.