Middle East Studies at Brown comprises a large community of faculty, staff, visiting professors, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate concentrators. The list below contains biographies and contact information.


Beshara Doumani
Director, Middle East Studies, 
Joukowsky Family Distinguished Professor of Modern Middle East History
Beshara Doumani’s primary research has been in recovering the history of social groups, places, and time periods that have been silenced or erased by conventional scholarship on the Modern Middle East, with a specialty in the social and cultural history of peasants, merchants, artisans, and women who live in the provincial regions of the Arab East during the period of Ottoman rule (16th – 20th centuries).


Anthony Watson
Associate Director
Prior to obtaining his doctorate at Cambridge, Anthony Watson was a finance and telecommunications executive in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for over a decade.   His research entails the  comparative study of political and religious authority in medieval Europe, the Middle East, and Persia.   He has taught Islamic and Christian History at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and the School of Oriental and African Studies.


Barbara Oberkoetter
Academic Program Manager
Barbara Oberkoetter oversees the administration of the department, and the events’ logistics and communications. As a former hotel industry executive, Barbara has lived and worked in East Africa, Chile, Europe, the West Indies, and North America.


Radhika Shah
MES staff website2Administrative Assistant
Radhika assists with organizing the logistics for all events in the Middle East Studies Department. She is a Rutgers University graduate from New Jersey with a concentration in Psychology and Childhood Studies. She worked at the Rutgers University Events Office for two years as an Assistant Events Coordinator. She hopes to pursue her Masters in Higher Education.


Phil Lai ’13/’14
Graphic Designer
Phil is pursuing a 5th-year master’s with the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He concentrated in Human Biology and International Relations as an undergrad, with research interests in wings and WMDs.



Reva Dhingra ’14
Student Assistant
Reva Dhingra is a senior concentrating in Middle East Studies and International Relations. She has studied Arabic since her freshman year and spent the last semester studying in Amman, Jordan. At Brown, Reva is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Brown Journal of World Affairs.. Following graduation, she hopes to work in refugee aid and resettlement in the Middle East and eventually pursue graduate school.


Rafael Contreras ’15
Rafael - PhotoStudent Assistant
Rafael Contreras is a third year student from Venezuela, concentrating in Middle East Studies and Political Science. He has been involved in the activities of Middle East Studies since freshman year. After Brown, Rafael aspires to work in the field of international migration, specifically in the area of refugee assistance and integration.


Katherine Long ’15
8623_10151797105522834_1145990580_nStudent Assistant
Katherine Long is a Middle East Studies concentrator from Seattle, Washington. Her focus is on urban politics and development economics in Turkey, Iran and Central Asia. She has studied Persian since her first year at Brown, and has worked on Middle Eastern arms control issues at the Monterey Institute.


Top of Page | Staff | Faculty | Visiting Professors and Postdoctoral Fellows | Graduate Students | Undergraduate Concentrators

Faculty Advisory Committee

Ariella Azoulay
Assistant Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature 
Her recent books are: From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950, (Pluto Press, 2011), Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (Verso, 2012) and The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008); co-author with Adi Ophir. The One State Condition: Occupation and Democracy between the Sea and the River. Stanford University Press, 2012. She is Curator and documentary film maker. Among her recent projects: of Potential History (2012, Stuk / Artefact, Louven), Civil Alliances, Palestine, 47-48 (2012). More information here.


Mirena Christoff
Senior Lecturer in Language Studies
Mirena Christoff teaches beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses in Arabic language and culture and coordinates instruction in the Arabic Language Program at Brown.  As academic advisor to MES concentrators, she provides information and guidance on language study and directs research and capstone projects in Arabic.  Her scholarly work, translations, and publications reflect her professional interest in MFL pedagogy, translation studies, and the history of Arab culture and literature.


Robyn Creswell
Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature
Robyn Creswell is a critic, translator, and scholar specializing in Arabic literature and comparative modernisms. His dissertation is a historical critique of Arabic modernist poetry, a movement that flourished in Beirut between 1955 and 1975 and which radically redefined the parameters of Arabic poetry.


Maud Mandel
Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and History, Director of the Program in Judaic Studies
Maud S. Mandel (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1998; A.M., University of Michigan, 1993; B.A. Oberlin College, 1989) is Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and History and Director of the Program in Judaic Studies. Her monograph, In the Aftermath of Genocide: Armenians and Jews in Twentieth Century France, was published by Duke University Press in 2003. Her current book project, Muslims and Jews in France: History of a Conflict will appear with Princeton University Press in January 2014 and has been awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society. Her most recent article, “Negotiating Difference: French Jews and Immigrant Jews in the aftermath of the Holocaust,” will appear in the volume Post-Holocaust France and the Jews, 1945-55, in 2014. She teaches courses on many aspects of modern Jewish history, including history of the Holocaust, Zionism and the birth of the state of Israel, and antisemitism.


Ian Straughn
Joukowsky Family Middle East Studies Librarian; Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Ian Straughn’s research and teaching interests focus on the emerging study of the archaeology of the Muslim World. This work was first developed while a graduate student in Anthropology at the University of Chicago and has continued as a member of the Joukowsky Institute faculty, and currently the University Library. His work has concentrated on understanding how Muslim societies have been shaped by the landscapes which they have constructed and conceived and by their relationship to the material world. A major aspect of this research has consisted of developing a methodology for bringing the archaeological and textual records into a productive dialogue about past societies.

Middle East Studies Faculty

Sue Alcock
Director, Artemis A.W. and Martha Sharp Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Joukowsky Family Professor in Archaeology
Sue Alcock is a classical archaeologist, with interests in the material culture of the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia, particularly in Hellenistic and Roman times. Much of her research to date has revolved around themes of landscape, imperialism, sacred space, and memory. She has been involved with fieldwork in Greece and Armenia, but she is now directing the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP), exploring numerous aspects of the urban site and rural hinterland of Petra in southern Jordan.


James P. Allen
Wilbour Professor of Egyptology, Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies
James P. Allen received his PhD from the University of Chicago. Before joining Brown in 2007, Prof. Allen was an epigrapher with the University of Chicago’s Epigraphic Survey, Cairo Director of the American Research Center in Egypt, and curator of Egyptian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is also President of the International Association of Egyptologists. His research interests include ancient Egyptian grammar and literature, religion, and history. He has written extensively on these subjects, and is currently working on publication of material from the Metropolitan Museum’s excavations at Lisht and Dahshur and on an historical study of the phonology and grammar of ancient Egyptian.


Omer Bartov
John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History and Professor of History and Professor of German Studies
Professor Bartov is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject of genocide. He is the author of seven books and the editor of three volumes; his work has been translated into several languages. His most recent book, Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine (Princeton, 2007), examines the politics of memory in Western Ukraine and erasure of both the memory and the few material remains of Jewish culture there.


Ruth Adler Ben Yehuda
Senior Lecturer in Judaic Studies                                                 Ruth Adler Ben Yehuda’s research interests include Hebrew language pedagogy, language learning and technology, language and culture, the history of the Hebrew language (which includes other Semitic languages), and Judeo-Arabic (especially of the Jews in Yemen). She is the author of “Daily Life in Israel- Listening and Viewing Comprehension” (Magnes / Hebrew University, 2011).


Réda Bensmaïa
Chair, French Studies, Professor of French Studies and Comparative Literature
Professor Bensmaïa teaches courses on French literature and philosophy, film theory and French and Francophone postcolonial literature. His last book entitled Experimental Nations of the Invention on the Maghreb has been published by Princeton University Press (Spring 2003). He is presently working on two projects : a monograph on the 20th Century French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s work and editing a special issue of CINEMAS on the same author; and a book on North African writers and is entitled: Politiques d’écrivain (Political Writers).


Sheila Bonde
Professor of History of Art and Architecture
Sheila Bonde’s research combines archaeology, architectural history, spatial analysis and digital humanities. She is co-director of the MonArch (Monastic Archaeology) research team that focuses on three monasteries in northern France. This project involves excavation, study of surviving architecture and texts, and digital reconstruction and representation. Recent publications and presentations also consider the revival of antiquity in the Middle Ages, and the ethics of representation. Her teaching includes late antique, western medieval and Islamic art and architecture.


Melani Cammett
Associate Professor of Political Science, Former Director, Middle East Studies 
Melani Cammett specializes in the political economy of development and the Middle East and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on comparative politics, development, and Middle East politics. She has published extensively, including on global economic integration, industrial development, and sectarian organizations allocating social welfare goods, with research being conducted in Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere. Cammett’s current research focuses on public and social goods provision by Islamists and other types of public and private actors in several Middle Eastern countries. In addition, Cammett has consulted for various development policy organizations.


Leo Depuydt

Professor of Egyptology & Ancient Western Asian
Leo Depuydt’s research addresses all aspects of ancient Egypt and its wider Near Eastern and Mediterranean context, but especially the languages and the history of the area. Specific topics of research include the following: Coptic manuscripts; the grammar of all stages of Egyptian; the history of the Egyptian language; language and logic; the digitalization of rational thought and language; chronology, calendrics, astronomy, and heortology; ancient science and mathematics; and probability theory.


Miled Faiza
Lecturer in the Center for Language Studies
Miled Faiza published his first collection of poetry in 2004, Remains of a House We Once Entered. Selections from Remains of a House have been published in three anthologies, as well as numerous journals. Miled is currently writing a new poetry collection, selections of which have been published in print publications such as Al Ghaoon as well as in online literary journals like Kikah and Jihat al-Shi’r. English translations from the new collection were also published in World Literature Today and Banipal; a Serbian translation was published in Bagdala. Miled graduated from Université de Sousse, Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Sousse, Tunisia, in 1998 with a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and received a master’s degree in Near Eastern Languages (Arabic) from Wayne State University in 2009. Miled has taught Arabic at Michigan State University, University of Virginia, and Middlebury College.


Lina Fruzetti
Professor of Anthropology
Lina Fruzetti’s work evolves around the Middle East, though her main focus in social anthropology is India. Therein she studies the relationship between kinship, marriage, and rituals as well as the meaning of the construction of gender. Her work has also covered caste and the life cycle rites of Hindus, and is now addressing recent structural changes to the institution of marriage and also what constitutes the person. Taking a more comparative approach, her research on nationalism and post-colonial studies has taken is addressing the feminist movement, and the problems and politics of identity and citizenship within Islam and Hinduism. Her other research interests focus on East and North Africa communities, including Islamic societies and notions of identity.


Sherine Hamdy
Kutayba Alghanim Assistant Professor of the Social Sciences
Sherine Hamdy is an anthropologist with long-standing interests in cross-cultural approaches to medicine, health, and the body. She received her Ph.D. from New York University Department of Anthropology in 2006. Her first large research project was based on two years of fieldwork in the Egyptian cities of Tanta, Mansoura, and Cairo, and centered on ethical debates around organ transplantation. This culminated in her book Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt (University of California, 2012).


Ömür Harmanşah
Assistant Professor of Archaeology and Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
Ömür Harmanşah [] specializes in the archaeology of the ancient Near East, with emphasis on Anatolia, Syria, and Mesopotamia. His academic interests are focused on the intersections of place and landscape, bodily performance and collective memory. Born and raised in Turkey, Ömür studied architecture and architectural history at the Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey), and received his PhD from University of Pennsylvania (2005), with a dissertation on the practice of founding cities in the ancient Near East. His first monograph, entitled Cities and the Shaping of Memory in the Ancient Near East was published by Cambridge University Press (2013). Since 2010, he has been directing Yalburt Yaylasi Archaeological Landscape Research Project, a Brown University based, multi-year regional survey project in central western Turkey. In 2013/14, Harmansah is on leave as Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellow, University of Texas at Austin.


Susan A. Harvey
Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor of Religious Studies
Susan Ashbrook Harvey specializes in late antique and Byzantine Christianity, with Syriac studies as her particular focus. She is the author of Scenting Salvation: Ancient Christianity and the Olfactory Imagination (2006), Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and the Lives of the Eastern Saints (1990), co-author, with Sebastian P. Brock, of Holy Women in the Syrian Orient (1998, 1987), and co-editor with David G. Hunter of the Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies (2008). She has published widely on topics relating to asceticism, hagiography, women and gender, hymnography, homiletics, and piety in late antique Christianity.


Dennis Hogan
Professor of Sociology
Dennis Hogan’s research involves the interrelationships of the family lives of individual persons and the influence of social environments (family and community origins, educational opportunities, employment opportunities, cultural definitions of expected roles). His approach is broadly comparative, including studies of race, ethnic and immigrant groups and majority populations in the United States over the 20th century, Italian social history, contemporary Ethiopia and Palestine.


David Jacobson
Professor of Judaic Studies
Much of David Jacobson’s research has focused on the relationship of contemporary Israeli poetry to the Jewish tradition. He has also written on the portrayal of the Arab-Israeli conflict in contemporary Israeli fiction and on responses to the Arab-Israeli conflict in early Passover haggadot of the kibbutz movement.  He is currently researching the role of ancient rabbinic texts as sources for the construction of new visions of Israeli identity.  At Brown, he has taught courses on the Bible as literature, Holocaust literature, ancient and modern religious poetry, Israeli literature, and comparative courses on the literature and national narratives of Israelis and Palestinians.


Martha Joukowsky
Professor Emerita, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Director, Petra, Jordan Great Temple excavations
Trained as a Middle Eastern archaeologist and involved in archaeological excavations for 35 years, Joukowsky researches domestication, Middle East urbanism and the varied cultural regional developments from the earliest times to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Moreover, she has been overseeing the Brown University Petra Great Temple excavations in Jordan for over 10 years, where her primary research interests concentrate on researching Nabataean cultural history. In the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, she also works with scientific applications including surveying with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and more, as well as analyses including Instrumental Neutron Activation (INAA), fresco pigment analysis, palynology, marble isotopes, stone weathering, and dendrochronology, as well as multi-disciplinary approchaes such as a digital archaeology project. Martha Sharp Joukowsky has published 6 books and over 50 scholarly articles. She has also been the invited speaker at seminars and lectures around the world.


Nancy Khalek
William A. Dyer Jr. Assistant Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Religious Studies
Nancy Khalek specializes in Late Antiquity and early Islam. She received her Ph.D. in History from Princeton University in 2006. In addition to her focus on the formative period of Islamic history, other interests include hagiography and historiography in the Byzantine and Islamic worlds, relic and saint veneration, Christian-Muslim dialogue, and the relationship of material culture to religious life. Professor Khalek has conducted archaeological and ethnographic field work in Jordan, Syria, Greece and Turkey. Her first book is entitled Damascus after the Muslim Conquest: Text and Image in Early Islam (Oxford University Press, 2011). At Brown, Professor Khalek has connections and afiliation with several departments and programs, including the Political Theory Project, Medieval Studies, the Joukowski Institute for Archaeology, and the Department of History. Click here to view an article on Professor Khalek.


Elias Muhanna
Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature
Elias Muhanna is a scholar of classical Arabic literature and Islamic intellectual history. His current research focuses on the Arabic encyclopedic production of the Mamluk Empire (1250-1517), and more broadly on encyclopedism in different cultural contexts. Other interests include the history of the book, literary theory and philosophies of language, the cultural history of the Mamluk Empire, and comparative literary diglossia. Elias joined Brown in 2012, coming from Harvard University via Stanford’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy. In his spare time, he writes about contemporary Middle Eastern politics for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Nation, and his own blog, Qifa Nabki.


Saul Olyan
Professor of Judaic Studies
Saul M. Olyan is the author most recently of Social Inequality in the World of the Text: The Significance of Ritual and Social
Distinctions in the Hebrew Bible (2011); Disability in the Hebrew Bible: Interpreting Mental and Physical Differences (2008); Biblical Mourning: Ritual and Social Dimensions (2004); and Rites and Rank: Hierarchy in Biblical Representations of Cult (2000).


Stratis Papaioannou
Assistant Professor of Classics
Stratis Papaioannou studies post-classical Greek literary and cultural history, especially late antique and Byzantine writing in its social context. His wider interests are in premodern book and letter-writing cultures, literary aesthetics, and concepts of gender, self, and desire. Papaioannou has published on Gregory of Nazianzus and, especially, Michael Psellos, while his work is divided in interpretative study, critical edition, and translation.


Amy Remensnyder
Associate Professor of History
Amy G. Remensnyder’s research focuses on the cultural and religious history of medieval Europe. The author of numerous articles and of a book about monastic culture and memory in southern France, she is currently finishing a book about how pre-modern Spanish Christians used the Virgin Mary as a symbol of the conquest and conversion of non-Christians in the Iberian Peninsula and in early colonial Mexico.


Rachel Rojanski
Adjunct Associate Professor of Judaic Studies
Rachel Rojanski’s main field of interest is Modern Jewish History with a special focus on cultural and political history of East European Jewish immigrants in the United States and Israel. Other fields of interest include Yiddish studies, American Jewish History and Culture, Jewish Socialism, Jewish Gender studies and the Yiddish/Jewish Press


Matthew Rutz
Assistant Professor of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies
Matthew Rutz works in the field of Assyriology, the interdisciplinary study of texts written in the cuneiform (“wedge-shaped”) writing system from ancient Mesopotamia, traditionally the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (present-day Iraq, Syria, and Turkey). He specializes in the languages and cultures of this region with an emphasis on Akkadian (Babylonian/Assyrian) and Sumerian documents from the latter half of the second millennium BCE, the social and political history of Late Bronze Age Syria, Babylonian literary and scholastic texts from the site of Nippur (Iraq), ancient Mesopotamian intellectual and religious history, and the study of ancient texts as archaeological objects. Most recently, he is the author of Bodies of Knowledge in Ancient Mesopotamia: The Diviners of Late Bronze Age Emar and Their Tablet Collection (2013).


John Steele
Professor of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies
John Steele is a historian of the exact sciences in antiquity. He specializes in the history of astronomy, with a particular focus on Mesopotamian astronomy. He is the author of Observations and Predictions of Eclipse Times by Early Astronomers (Kluwer 2000), A Brief Introduction to Astronomy in the Middle East (Saqi 2008), and Ancient Astronomical Observations and the Study of the Moon’s Motion (1692-1857) (Springer 2012). Before coming to Brown, John Steele has been a Royal Society University Research Fellow at Durham University, E. P. May Fellow at the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto, and Dibner Institure Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology.


Adam Teller
Associate Professor of Judaic Studies
Adam Teller is an early modern historian, specializing in the history of the Jews in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He focuses on the ways in which they became an integral part of society there and the tensions this aroused. He has written two monographs (in Hebrew), one on living conditions in the Jewish quarter of Poznan, the other on the roles played by Jews in Lithuania’s eighteenth century magnate economy, as well as numerous articles (in English) on social and cultural issues.


Nina Tannenwald
Faculty Fellow, Watson Institute for International Studies; Senior Lecturer in Political Science
Nina Tannenwald’s research focuses on the role of international institutions, norms and ideas in global security issues, efforts to control weapons of mass destruction, and human rights and the laws of war. Before joining the Brown Department of Political Science in the fall of 2011, she was previously Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Assistant and then Associate Research Professor at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies. She has been a visiting professor at Cornell and Stanford Universities, a Carnegie Scholar, and a MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Fellow in International Peace and Security. In 2012-2013 she served as a Franklin Fellow in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation in the U.S. State Department. She holds a master’s degree from the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs and a Ph.D. in international relations from Cornell University.


Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar
Assistant Professor of History
Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar is interested in cross-border and interdisciplinary histories for rethinking a divided South Asia, as well as the politics of violence and its impact on history-writing itself. Her first book, The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories, was published by Columbia University Press in 2007, and Indian and Pakistani editions of the book came out in 2008. At present she is working on a second book on the history of archaeology and war on the northwest frontier of British India, on the borderlands with Afghanistan.


Faiz Ahmed
Assistant Professor of History
Faiz Ahmed, Assistant Professor in Middle East Studies in the History Department, is a specialist on modern Islamic legal history. His primary research focuses on the “socio-legal” history of the Ottoman Empire, Iran, and Afghanistan, with particular attention to students, scholars, and constitutional movements in the long nineteenth century. In addition to his historical inquiries in law, education and transnational scholarly (‘ulamā’) networks, Ahmed occasionally publishes on contemporary affairs in Afghanistan and U.S.-Mideast relations. Earning his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013, he also holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.


Bashir Abu Manneh
Adjunct Faculty
Bashir Abu Manneh will be joining the Brown Comparative Literature and Middle East Studies faculties in an adjunct capacity in 2013. A highly noted scholar of literatures of the Middle East, Marxist and Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Theory, Abu Manneh most recently held a position at Barnard College at Columbia. He was an extremely popular and effective teacher there, with some students calling him “the best professor at Barnard.” His current project is on the aesthetics and politics of the modern Palestinian novel, a topic that fits very well with the After Oslo programming theme that will be undertaken by Middle East Studies in the 2013-2014 academic year. The author of Fiction of the New Statesman, 1913-1939 (Delaware, 2011) and numerous articles, Dr. Abu Manneh holds a D.Phil. in English Literature from Oxford University, an MA from the University of Warwick, and a BA from the University of Haifa.

Top of Page | Staff | Faculty | Visiting Professors and Postdoctoral Fellows | Graduate Students | Undergraduate Concentrators


Visiting Professors and Post-Doctoral Fellows

Iraj Anvar
Visiting Lecturer in Language Studies
Iraj Anvar was born in Tehran, Iran. As a teen he moved to Italy with his family where later on he studied theater with Alessandro Fersen in Rome. In the mid 60′s he went back to Iran and while pursuing a career in the theater he followed also his interest in Persian Literature and translation. After a very good career at Tehran Theatre Workshop, which he co-founded, he was offered a scholarship by the Iranian government and went to NYU in 1978 to continue his theatrical research. With the advent of the Iranian Revolution he transferred to the Department of the Near Eastern Studies as a TA and pursued a PhD, which he obtained in 1991. For the past three decades he has been teaching Persian Language and Culture at NYU, Harvard, Columbia and University of Wisconsin. He joined Brown in the fall of 2008 and has been teaching Persian Language and Culture.


Shiva Balaghi
Laya Khadjavi Visiting Professor of Iranian Studies
Shiva Balaghi is a cultural historian of the Middle East, who teaches Art History and History at Brown University as the Laya Khadjavi Visiting Assistant Professor of Iranian Studies. Balaghi is a Contributing Editor of Jadaliyya, Associate Editor of Review of Middle East Studies, and Vice-President of the American Institute of Iranian Studies. Her books include Saddam Hussein: A Biography (2005); Picturing Iran: Art, Society, and Revolution (co-edited, 2002); and Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East (Co-edited, 1994). Balaghi has published widely on Iranian visual culture and contemporary Islamic Art. She is currently completing the book, Knowledge and Power in Iran, 1848-1953. Her next book project is on Culture, Society, and Islam in Iran. Before coming to Brown, she was Associate Director of the Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU for a decade. She has taught at the University of Vermont and the University of Michigan.


Palmira Brummett
Visiting Professor of History
Palmira Brummett received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Middle Eastern History and Islamic Studies. She is a historian of the Ottoman empire and the Mediterranean world whose work focuses on the rhetorics and genres of cross-cultural encounter.  Current projects include a monograph on early modern mapping of the Ottoman empire in text and image, and another on the flow of culture, information, and people in the early modern Ottoman Adriatic. In classes ranging from The Ottomans and Europe, to Women in the Islamic Middle East, to The U.S. and the Middle East: Image and Imperialism, she explores textual and visual imagery to examine the layering of history, and the ways in which peoples envision themselves and their neighbors (near and distant), and she has published extensively on these and other subjects.


Parmenion Papamichos Chronakis
Visiting Assistant Professor of History
Paris Papamichos Chronakis’ research interests focus on the interplay of class, gender and ethnicity and extend to the fields of Late Ottoman, Modern Greek and Sephardic History, the history of the Mediterranean middle classes, and urban history. He is a founding member of the Group for the Study of the History of the Jews in Greece.


Boğaç Ergene
Bogac ErgeneAga Khan Visiting Professor in Islamic Humanities
Boğaç Ergene received his Ph.D. degree from the Ohio State University in 2001. Currently, he is Associate Professor of History at University of Vermont. Professor Ergene is the author of Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire: Legal Practice and Dispute Resolution in Çankırı and Kastamonu (1652-1744) (Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2003) and editor of Judicial Practice: Institutions and Agents in the Islamic World (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009). In addition, he published articles in major history, law, and economic history journals, including International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Economic History, Journal of Family History, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Law and Social Inquiry, Islamic Law and Society, and Continuity and Change. He is the co-editor of the Ottoman Empire and Its Heritage, a Brill Publishers book-series on Ottoman and Turkish History. Ergene’s research has received support in the past from many institutions including the American Council of Learned Societies, Social Sciences Research Council, and American Research Institute in Turkey. Currently, he is working on his monograph, provisionally entitled, Class, Court and Justice in the Ottoman Empire.


Nicola Denzey Lewis
Visiting Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Nicola Denzey Lewis’s research interests include the social and intellectual contexts of the ancient world, particularly the intersection of early Christianity and the Roman Empire from the first to the fourth century CE. Her work is interdisciplinary, incorporating methods and insights from Religious Studies, Classics, History, Art History and Archaeology. Particular areas of interest include Gnosticism, the social history of women in antiquity, and death in ancient Rome.


Lisa DiCarlo
dicarlo-sm[1]Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
Lisa Di Carlo’s research in Turkey has focused on topics ranging from social innovation to identity politics and transnational migration. She is the author of Migrating to America: Transnational Identity and Regional Social Networks among Turkish Migrants (IB Tauris 2008). She is also founder of The Field School for Social Innovation, a field-based summer program in Turkey that allows students to learn about contemporary social issues and solutions in context. At Brown, Dr. Di Carlo teaches courses on design anthropology, qualitative research methods and social innovation.


Katharina Galor 
Visiting Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies
Katharina Galor is the Hirschfeld Visiting Assistant Professor at the Program in Judaic Studies at Brown University. She has excavated at a number of sites in Italy (Vigna Barberini in Rome), France (Old Jewish quarter of Cavaillon and the Byzantine church at Roquevert) and Israel (Jerusalem, Sepphoris, Qumran, Ein Gedi, Ramat Hanadiv and Tiberias). Her research focuses on Roman and Byzantine Palestine, with topics related to sacred, civic and domestic architecture, town planning, water installations and mosaics. She is a PI on a NSF grant NSF Grant on Core Computer Vision Research devoted to Promoting Paradigm Shifts in Archaeology


Alla Hassan
Visiting Lecturer in Language Studies


Shahriar Mondanipour
Visiting Professor of Literary Arts
Shahriar Mondanipour is regarded as one of the most accomplished writers of contemporary Iranian literature. His creative approach to the use of symbols and metaphors, his inventive experimentation with language, time and space, as well as his unique awareness of sequence and identity have made his work fascinating to critics and readers alike. His honors include the Mehregan Award for the best Iranian children’s novel of 2004, the 1998 Golden Tablet Award for best fiction in Iran during the previous two decades, and Best Film Critique at the 1994 Press Festival in Tehran.


Mohsen Namjoo
DSC_1123Artist in Residence
Hailed as “the Bob Dylan of Iran” by The New York Times, Mohsen Namjoo is a visionary artist who speaks for and touches the souls of today’s youth. His music seamlessly blends the classical with the modern, and the ancient with the current. During his 2014 residency at Brown, Namjoo will be engaged in a number of activities. In Spring 2014, Namjoo will be teaching a course entitled “Tradition and Protest: Persian and Iranian Music,” and will be giving several musical talks to public audiences over the course of the semester. The topics will include “Iranian Rythms,” “Shahram Shabpareh: Honesty and Minor Scale,” and “Comparing Eastern Music and Western Music through High Pitch and Low Pitch.” The semester will be capped by a concert on the evening of May 10. In fall 2014, Namjoo will teach “Iranian Music and Poetry: Content and Form.” His residency will be capped by a world first, with Namjoo and the members of Iranian bands 127, Kiosk, and Hypernova talking the stage together during a two-night festival of Iranian protest music.


Linda Quiquivix
Postdoctoral fellow in Critical Global Humanities, Cogut Center for Humanities
Linda’s scholarship draws from spatial theory and critical cartography, with interests in liberation movements in the Middle East, Latin America, and the U.S. Her current work focuses on the theoretical and empirical intersections of cartography and political strategy within the Palestinian national movement. Her dissertation produced a genealogy of Palestinian map-making and map-use, investigating the leadership’s political shift from liberation to statecraft following the Oslo Accords. In tracing how the map became ubiquitous in the Palestinian state-building project, her work also makes visible colonial cartography’s influence into determining today what constitutes the political realm. Her recent publications appear in Capitalism Nature Socialism, and in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 


Mayssun Succarie
Cogut Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities and Modern Arab Culture and Society
Mayssun Succarie joins Middle East Studies as the inaugural Cogut Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities and Modern Arab Culture and Society. Succarie is an ideal candidate for the post, which has an emphasis on social movements and youth culture in a global context. She has extensive ethnographic field experience in Lebanon, Jordan, the Gulf States, Iraq, and Egypt. Her work examines the flow of ideas between global centers of power and capital through the Arab region, with a particular critical emphasis on the construction and transformation of neoliberal ideology and power. She has served as a postdoctoral fellow at Colombia University, and is a visiting assistant professor at American University of Cairo, American University of Beirut. She holds a PhD in Anthropology and Education from University of California, Berkeley, and an MA and BA from the American University of Beirut.


Sa’ed Atshan
Postdoctoral Fellow
Sa’ed Atshan’s scholarship is at the intersection between the study of conflict, development, and humanitarianism, medical anthropology, the anthropology of policy, and Middle Eastern Studies, with a focus on the Palestinian Territories. He holds a PhD (2013) and an MA (2010) in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. He also received an MPP (2008) from the Harvard Kennedy School and a BA (2006) from Swarthmore College. Atshan will be teaching a course in the Spring 2014 semester on the “Arab Spring.”

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Graduate Students

  • Osman Safa Bursali, Visiting Researcher 2012-13
  • Marcus Walton, Political Science
  • Michael Marcusa, Political Science
  • Yara Jarallah, Sociology
  • Weeam Hammoudeh, Sociology
  • Zoe Griffith, History
  • Alexei Sisulu Abrahams, Economics
  • Chana Morgenstern, Comparative Literature

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Undergraduate Concentrators: Seniors

  • Nasim Azizgolshani
  • Marc Briz
  • Reva Dhingra
  • Perri Gould
  • Micah Greenberg
  • Christina Kata
  • Annika Lichtenbaum
  • Bethany Marshall
  • Casey O’Dea
  • Molly Ratner
  • Elizabeth Resnick
  • Katherine Sola
  • Kathryn Thornton
  • Kyle Zurcher
  • Tiffany Zarabi-Aazam

Undergraduate Concentrators: Juniors

  • Simon DeJesus Rodrigues
  • Zakaria Enzminger
  • Layla Heidari
  • Abby Linn
  • Katherine Long
  • Lauren Rouse
  • Lara Savenije
  • Sophia Sepulveda
  • Samuel Torres
  • Elana Wenger
  • Talia Xefos

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