PROFILE: SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY PRESS


Syracuse University Press maintains one of the strongest collections of Middle East-related titles of any university or academic publisher in the United States. Currently, SU Press has six book series under its Middle East Studies category (including the only named series on Arab-American writing and studies) and publishes fifteen to twenty-five related books per year.

Executive Editor Mary Selden Evans credits Arpena Mesrobian, the Press’s former director in the 1970s, with starting to specialize in books relating to the Arab and Muslim world. Mesrobian, an Armenian-American who had studied at American University of Beirut, once tried to mail a pack- age to Tehran, Iran. When clerks refused the package because they did not know where Tehran was, Mesrobian realized that there was a black hole of ignorance about the Middle East which needed enlightenment. She initiated a series with broad scope that would include everything from religion to history and economics.

Now SU Press’s signature subject area, the Middle East track continues to grow in reputation under Executive Editor Selden Evans. After 9/11, other presses increased their interest in Middle East- related offerings and some commercial presses became interested in SU Press’s titles, especially its substantial fiction offerings. Selden Evans, who grew up in Saudi Arabia and has an extensive knowledge of Middle Eastern issues, welcomes the attention. SU Press’s books offer an eclectic mix of Middle East voices. “We try to reach as wide an audience as possible, of course,” says Evans, “which includes general readers, professors, scholars, and librarians. Many of our books are adopted for course use both as supplemental reading and primary texts at universities from Stanford to Yale.”

Recently, Syracuse University Press has formed a partnership with the King Fahd Center for Middle East & Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas to offer annual awards for the Translation of Arabic Literature. These are national juried awards and will be given by SU Press and the King Fahd Center for the next five years. SU Press is also the exclusive distributor of books published by American University of Beirut and the Moshe Dayan Center, and it has a partnership with the gov- ernment of Turkey to publish books on Turkish art and literature. The Press also enjoys an ongoing relationship with the American University in Cairo and co-publishes books with Dar An-Nahar, an important Lebanese publisher of monographs and periodicals.

For a comprehensive list of SU Press series and titles, visit their website at: www.SyracuseUniversityPress.syr.edu.
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