Kurpershoek, Marcel

Senior Humanities Research Fellow Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Email: pmk3@nyu.edu

Marcel Kupershoek joined NYUAD in January 2015, as a Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program.

His research subject is Nabati poetry, a traditional art in the Gulf and the Arabian peninsula. Its roots go back to the pre-Islamic classical Arabic poetry of famous bards like Imru ‘l Qays. His fieldwork started in 1989 in central-Arabia, at the edge of the Empty Quarter, where he found illiterate poets who were great masters of this poetry’s more recent Nabati version, with vernacular elements. These poems he recorded and published with a translation, introductions, and glossaries in five volumes, Oral Poetry & Narratives from Central Arabia (Brill Publishers). He wrote about his fieldwork in Dutch books that were translated into English (Arabia of the Bedouins) and Arabic (al-Badawi al-Akhir, The Last Bedouin, both Saqi Books).

In Abu Dhabi he studies the links between Nabati poetry in inner Arabia (Najd) and the Gulf litoral. In addition, he will work on TV competitions like the Million’s Poet. He has participated in workshops at NYUAD and contributed articles on the subject in The National newspaper of Abu Dhabi. He has worked as a Dutch diplomat in Egypt (where he did his PhD on modern Egyptian literature), Syria, Saudi-Arabia, and as Netherlands ambassador in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Turkey, Poland, and as Dutch special representative for Syria based in Istanbul.