Anne-Marie McManus' research intervenes in contemporary debates in comparative literature, postcolonial studies, the sociology of cultural production, and the changing role of literary theory in Middle East area studies, particularly following the uprisings of 2011.
Her current research reconstructs the literary and intellectual networks that spanned the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria) and Levant (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon) in the decades of decolonization and the early years of independence, for which she draws on archival research in print culture and political history, literary analysis, and ethnographic interviews. The book manuscript, tentatively titled Of Other Languages: Decolonization and Intellectual Networks Between the Maghreb and Levant, is under contract with Northwestern University Press. Her recent writing appears in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Arab Studies Journal, the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, Expressions Maghrébines, and Jadaliyya.
Since 2014, along with Dr. Nancy Reynolds, she has co-directed the Wastelands faculty seminar, which critically challenges conventional representations of the Middle East and North Africa as ruined, blighted spaces. Drs. McManus and Reynolds received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop this project into a Sawyer Seminar for the Comparative Study of Cultures, titled "Grounding the Ecocritical: Materializing Wastelands and Living On in the Middle East" (2016-18).
Anne-Marie is also an active researcher in contemporary Syrian literature, politics, and film, with essays on the Syrian novel in translation — the most recent of which appears in the MLA volume Teaching Modern Arabic Literature in Translation. Her translation work from Syrian literature has been set to music by UK-based composer Jonathan Dove, reviewed here. She discusses her teaching on Syrian literature and culture at Washington University in St. Louis with Marcia Lynx Qualey on the blog "Arabic Literature in English" here. Her essay on the Syrian author Mustafa Khalifa's prison memoir, al-Qawqa'a, can be found here.
Her translations from Arabic appear in the anthology Syria Speaks: Art and Culture from the Frontline (Saqi Press, 2014), which won an English PEN Award. She has also translated from French literary essays by Abdellatif Laabi, which appear in Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics (Stanford University Press, 2016, eds. Olivia C. Harrison and Teresa Villa-Ignacio).