Name: Kate Goodin
Current: Middle Eastern Studies, supervised by Tarek El-Ariss
Previous: BA in Literary Translation, Brown University, Arabic Studies at UC Berkeley and the Middlebury Summer Intensive Program, Fulbright for study at the Arabic Language Institute at the American University in Cairo, Center for Arabic Studies Abroad
Research Topic: Arabic Literature and Literary Translation—I’m interested in looking at the development of literary theory in Arabic, and especially with regards to translation. This spring, I worked on a paper on theoretical treatments of language from the Abbasid era “golden age.” I am also working on the translation of a contemporary Egyptian novel.
Why? As a Latin student in high school, one of my teachers encouraged me to translate the passages we worked on from the Aeneid in a literary way, to take it as not just a language learning exercise but actually an opportunity for artistic expression. That really opened up a lot of possibilities to me. A semester in Egypt during college brought me to Arabic language studies. I was fascinated by the different sounds and colors, the way the language felt, and in spite of some non-trivial cultural barriers, I felt immensely welcome.
Mentors? I feel really indebted to Heba Salem, Azza Waked and Nadia Harb, all of whom were in incredible, not just in teaching Arabic but, in really engaging us as students and reminding us why we wanted to learn it in the first place. As for UT, our department is an incredibly supportive place full of a lot of competent, accomplished people who really care about what they do, and are willing to share advice.
Why UT? I think UT is the best place to study Arabic in the country. Kristen Brustad and Mahmoud Al-Batal are not only incredibly accomplished educators—they wrote the book that the entire country uses to study Arabic—but they also are both passionate about teaching, and about the language, and incredibly supportive of their students. If you’re having a bad day and need your faith in humanity restored, watch Mahmoud with a classroom full of undergraduates.
Hobbies? I’m a big fan of being outdoors, and I’ve been getting more into amateur astronomy lately. I recently learned how to navigate a telescope. I’ve also been trying out yoga and meditation. Austin is a pretty great place for that.