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Gabriel V. Asfar

Faculty In Memoriam

French and Arabic



BA, Hamilton College, Phi Beta Kappa

MA, PhD, Princeton University

Dr. Asfar formerly taught at Princeton University and Middlebury College. His publications on French and Francophone literature include articles in French Review, Oeuvres et Critiques, and Panache, as well as chapters in Images of Arab Women (Three Continents Press, 1979), Critical Bibliography of French Literature (Syracuse University Press, 1980), Literature of Africa and the African Continuum (Three Continents Press, 1984), and Faces of Islam in Sub-Saharan Literature (Heinemann, 1991). In 1984, Dr. Asfar was instrumental in founding the Simon’s Rock Foreign Language Institute, an intensive summer program of college-level study in seven languages, and served as FLI director until 1996. He was a contributing writer for the proficiency-based French Test Series, Level I textbook and teacher’s guide, Nouveaux Copains (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1988); and coauthor of the Level II and Level III textbooks and teacher’s guides, Nous, les jeunes (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1990), and Notre Monde (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1991). He is also coauthor of the Performance Assessment components of the Level I and Level II French language series, Bienvenue and A Bord (McGraw-Hill/Glencoe, 1998). Dr. Asfar served as Arabic consultant and translator for Children in War, an Emmy Award-winning documentary by Susan and Alan Raymond, broadcast on HBO in January 2000 and published under the same title by TV Books in 2001. Dr. Asfar was selected by the senior class as the 2001-2002 recipient of the Glover Teaching Award. He has been a consultant to the Educational Testing Service in the development of a test of French-language proficiency, the TFI (Test de Français International). He is the translator, with Denise Asfar, of Maya Roy’s Musiques cubaines (Paris: Actes Sud, 1998; Princeton, NJ: Wiener Publishing, 2002). In 2007, Dr. Asfar served as Arabic consultant and translator for filmmaker Errol Morris on a documentary concerning the Iraqi prison of Abu-Ghraib, Standard Operating Procedure, released, along with a companion volume of the same title (Penguin-Macmillan), in 2008. In February 2011, Dr. Asfar served as editorial translator for the English version of “Révolutions signées arabes,” by Abdelmajid Hannoum, published as “The Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt” in the journal Theory, Culture, and Society. Dr. Asfar’s poem, “Mulberry Trees in Baghdad,” was published in The Corner Report on February 26, 2011. In May 2011, Dr. Asfar’s chapter, “Arabic at Simon’s Rock: Spanning Two Wars and Counting,” was published in Educating Outside the Lines (Peter Lang, 2011). In October 2011, he served as editorial translator for an article by Abdelmajid Hannoum, “Are Algeria and Morocco Exceptions to the Arab Revolution?” published in the November 17 issue of The Maghreb Center Blog. In January 2012, the College established the annual Gabriel V. Asfar Scholarship to honor his long service to the College. In 2013–2014, he served as linguistic and cultural consultant and translator to filmmaker Karin Muller in the production of her PBS documentary on the genocide in Darfur, Sudan’s Secret Side. Throughout his tenure as a member of the College faculty, Dr. Asfar also served as a member of the Student Life staff, as Residence Director. In May 2013, the senior class selected Dr. Asfar as the recipient of the Drumm Award, “in recognition of lifetime dedication to the values and philosophy of the College.” (1983–2014)

See Also

 In Memoriam: Gabriel V. Asfar