Franklin Research Group

(in progress)

The Franklin Research Groups aims to study the global history of Franklin Book Programs from an interdisciplinary perspective. It welcomes both established and younger scholars interested in a better understanding of the impact and legacy of Franklin in each of the countries where it was active. By providing its members with the necessary information (e.g. archival materials, articles, books, etc.), the FRG aims to encourage more research, discussion and knowledge about Franklin. If you are interested to be part of the FRG, please let us know. Send us a short bio, a few lines about your motivation(s), and your plans for future.


Abdel-Wahab Khalifeh

Abdel-Wahab is a Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting at Cardiff University. Prior to Cardiff, he lectured at Tanta University, with which he is still associated, and other universities in Egypt, Austria and the UK. He has also been working as a professional translator and interpreter for nearly ten years. Khalifa is the editor of Translators Have Their Say? Translation and the Power of Agency and the co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Arabic Translation. He is also the recipient of the 2019 Harry Ransom Center Fellowship in the Humanities and a member of the Executive Board of the Association for Translation Studies in Africa. Khalifa is currently working on a monograph on the socio-cultural determinants of translating modern Arabic fiction into English. In January 2022 he travelled with Esmaeil to Cairo in for research on Franklin/Cairo.

Levi Thompson

Levi is an assistant professor of Arabic and Persian literature at the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies. In 2019, students in his course “Representing Islam” at the University of Colorado Boulder collaborated to produce an episode about the Franklin Book Program for The East is a Podcast. Levi is now exploring the Program’s role in the Arabic and Persian literary spheres as part of a long term research project on Cold War culture in the Middle East.

Anna Girling

Anna is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh where her research focuses on the American author Edith Wharton. In the course of her research on Wharton she has become increasingly interested in the translation, publication and circulation of her works during the Cold War (chiefly by Franklin) – and in what this can tell us about the dissemination of ‘classic’ American literature during the Cold War more generally.

Hafiz Abid Masood

Hafiz Abid is Assistant Professor, Department of English, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan. He earned his Ph.D. from University of Sussex with a thesis titled “From Cyrus to Abbas: Staging Persia in Early Modern England”. His areas of interest include Anglo-Islamic Relations, Urdu Shakespeare, Cultural Cold War and Franklin Book Programs.

Tahoor Ali

Tahoor is a PhD student at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. He is a Lecturer of Literary Studies at University of Central Punjab, Lahore. His areas of interest are South Asian Literature, Critical Theory, Translation Studies, Modern and Contemporary Fiction. Currently he is working on the Franklin Book Program.

Jahan Z Ahmed

Jahan is a Global Studies PhD student at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). His transnational research project focuses on the American support for an Urdu book translation program in Pakistan (1947-72) in the broader context of the cultural Cold War. He previously was an International Fulbright scholar at American University in Washington DC where he earned an MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. He also holds an M.Phil. in Political Science from the GC University in Lahore, Pakistan. He is currently finalizing his doctoral dissertation. This is a summary of his research:

Books make revolutions and counter-revolutions and they do so locally as well as transnationally. The U.S. policymakers believed that books would serve America’s long-range propaganda interests in the Cold War and would be more effective in combating communism in the long run than other hearts and minds programs. Yet, the success of the U.S. book propaganda programs hinged upon the agency of its local interlocutors; program managers, book translators and their networks. My dissertation project seeks to focus on the imaginaries, experiences, and activities of the three main characters in the U.S. Franklin Book Programs’ (FBP) Pakistan operations, namely its country director Hamid Ali Khan, and two of the most prolific translators, Salahuddin Ahmed and Ghulam Rasul Mihr. I chart their career trajectories from their association with the Indian National Congress-led secular nationalism in the interwar period to the influence of the poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal and the firebrand journalist Zafar Ali Khan, to their conflict with the Punjabi Hindu press before partition. I then investigate how the violence and trauma of partition shaped their subsequent careers devoted to the promotion of Urdu in Pakistani society and why some of their translations became more popular and influential than many others who failed the test of time.