Tayeb, Leila

Humanities Research Fellow Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Email: lot8410@nyu.edu
Education: BA, UC Santa Cruz; MA, The New School; MA, NYU; PhD, Northwestern University

Research Areas: sound and militarism, political authority in daily life, indigeneity and race in/and northern Africa, Islam and the state, state-sponsored performance, dance studies


Leila Tayeb is a performance studies scholar focused on contemporary Libya. Her interdisciplinary research uses performance ethnography and unconventional archives to explore the politics of cultural performance and the performativity of political life.

After completing her doctoral training at Northwestern University in 2018, Tayeb spent two years as Stanford Taylor Postdoctoral Associate in Music and Islam in the Contemporary World at Cornell University, where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the intersection of Islamic studies, music, and performance studies. She is a founding member of the editorial collective of Lamma: A Journal of Libyan Studies, an open-source academic journal that centers methods and frameworks hitherto underutilized in the extant scholarship on Libya.

At NYUAD, Tayeb will be preparing her first book. Under the working title, Producing Authority in Post-Gaddafi Libya: Sound, Space, and Performativity, it explores how sound practices in Libyan daily life became sites of political contestation between militias and civilians during the years after 2011.