Professor Maria Assif is Associate Professor of English, Teaching Stream, and the Coordinator of English A02 (Critical Writing about Literature; previously B05). Before joining UTSC in 2008, she received her Ph.D. in English from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 2005 (with a triple concentration in American Literature, Rhetoric and Composition Studies and Women's Studies), then she moved to Chicago where she received her tenure at Truman College in 2008.
While formally trained as an Americanist and a rhetorician, Professor Assif's research for the past five years focuses primarily on the complexity of Arab women writers' individual and communal identities, in the light of different historical traumas, the aftermath of 9/11, and gender politics. Her publications appeared in tens of journals and anthologies, such as The International Journal of Arts and Science, Al Araby, The International Journal of Comparative Literature and Transnational Studies, The International Journal of Arts and Sciences, The online WorldWide Forum of Education and Culture, Diversity and the Challenges of Global Higher Education, Pennsylvania Notes, Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture. She is also Associate Editor of different magazines whose focus range between comparative literature, transnational studies, education, and cultural linguistics. Professor Assif has three manuscripts in progress: The concise Guideline to Writing about Literature, Muslim Women: Multiple Voices, Multiple Vistas, and Intimate Voices: A Collection of Interviews with Arab Women Writers.
Professor Assif is the recipient of many research and teaching awards: the TedexUTSC 2016 "Dare to know" Participation, the UofT Idered Campaign award, The UTSC Underground Best Professor of the Year, The Middle East Excellence Award Institute in Education Nomination, TVO Best Lecturer Series Nomination, Top Five Educators in Illinois, The Fulbright Scholarship, and the Melon and Adrian research fellowship.
Professor Assif's life calling is teaching. She is honoured to have touched thousand of lives throughout her teaching career. While her teaching philosophy is fluid, three main tenants shape most of her teaching decisions: the belief every student's potential, the need for pedagogical innovation in the classroom, and higher education as a platform for equity.
Professor Assif lives in Toronto with her husband, their two young daughters and cat.
American Literature; Ethnic Studies; Women’s Literatures; Trauma Studies; Composition Studies