James M McGinnis was born in Dallas and grew up in Corpus Christi, TX. After earning his B. A. in English from Southern Methodist University, Jim decided he wanted to learn ancient Greek and Latin, so he enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a second B. A. in ancient Greek. Turning back to English literature, he earned his M. A. from Yale and his Ph. D. from the University of Virginia.
For his doctoral dissertation, Jim wanted to combine his love of English literature with his love of the classics; he wrote on English comedies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that were based on works by Plautus and Terence. In researching this topic, he learned that these comedies were also wrapped up in the politics of the times, which saw the rise of the first political parties, the Whigs and Tories. This led him to a renewed interest in politics and political theory.
Jim has taught courses in writing and literature at Brookhaven College, S. M. U., the University of Virginia, and James Madison University.
Jim has three daughters, Grace, Anne, and Jane, who are his biggest fans. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Co-author, with Rehab Mansour, of Escape without Freedom, which tells the story of Rehab’s journey from Egyptian housewife to Arab Spring activist to enemy of the El-Sisi regime to asylum seeker in the U. S. during the Trump administration.
Just after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, Rehab led marches of women through the streets of Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria. They focused on issues of particular interest to women, calling for better public schools and better health care and protesting female genital mutilation, which is still widely practiced in Egypt.
In her work as a private school teacher and as a volunteer teaching English to women at a center affiliated with Muhammad Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party, Rehab attracted the attention of the El-Sisi regime. After a National Security agent came to her home and threatened her, she fled with her family to the United States. A few months after her arrival, Donald Trump began his campaign for President with an anti-immigrant screed. Rehab’s application for asylum was delayed, and her case is still pending.
Jim is also working on an essay, which seems to want to become a book, on the rise of political parties in late-17 th century, and how that affects us today.
He occasionally contributes op-eds to Medium.
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