Faculty and Staff

Core Faculty

Noah Salomon
Noah Salomon Profile
Associate Professor of Religion
Director of Middle East Studies

Noah Salomon (B.A., Reed College; M.A., Ph.D. University of Chicago) teaches courses in Islamic Studies and the anthropology of religion. His first book, For Love of the Prophet: An Ethnography of Sudan's Islamic State, was published by Princeton University Press in 2016. Other recent research has focused on the establishment of state secularism in South Sudan as a mode of unraveling the Islamic State, and the concomitant construction of a Muslim minority as part of a nascent project of nation-building. Salomon was a member at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) in the School of Social Science for the 2013–14 academic year and has been part of recent collaborative grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (on Islamic epistemologies in Africa) and the Islam Research Programme, Netherlands (on religious minorities in the two Sudans following partition). Faculty Website

Sonja Anderson
Sonja Anderson Profile
Assistant Professor of Religion

Sonja Anderson (UCLA, B.A.; University of Notre Dame, M.T.S.; Yale University, M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.) teaches courses in late ancient Christianity and Judaism, biblical studies, and gender and Catholicism. Her dissertation, “Idol Talk: The Discourse of False Worship in the Early Christian World,” explored how ancient Christians and Jews used idolatry polemic to claim a distinctive identity for themselves over against their “pagan” peers and how scholarly narratives have replicated this claim to uniqueness. She has researched in Hebrew texts and contexts and is excited to work with students interested in exploring these areas.

Stacy Beckwith
Stacy Beckwith Profile
Chair of Middle Eastern Languages
Director of Judaic Studies
Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies

Stacy Beckwith (BA, University of Toronto, MA, PhD, University of Minnesota) teaches courses on Hebrew and Israeli Society. Her special interests are in nationalism and literature; Israeli, Palestinian, and Spanish.

Bryan Daves
Bryan Daves Profile
Visiting Instructor in Political Science

Bryan Daves (American University, B.S.; George Washington University, M.A.; Columbia University) has served as clinical assistant professor of political science at Yeshiva University, visiting senior member of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, and visiting lecturer at Princeton University. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Jordan, and has received USIA fellowships to the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and the American Center for Oriental Research. Professor Daves' research interests include the political economy of development, north-south economic relations, new institutional economics, and politics of the Middle East and North Africa. He has published articles in several journals and edited volumes, including Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs and The Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East.

Zaki Haidar
Zaki Haidar Profile
Lecturer in Arabic

Zaki Haidar (BA, UC Santa Cruz; MA, Princeton University; Doctoral Candidate, University of Pennsylvania) teaches courses on Arabic — both the formal and colloquial languages — and modern Arabic literature. His interests span Arab intellectual history, the politics and culture of the Arab world, and literary and narrative studies more generally. He is currently at work on a project about the narrative figuring of Mount Lebanon in the twentieth century, along with some literary translation from Arabic to English.

Ahmed Ibrahim
Ahmed Ibrahim Profile
Robert A. Oden, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Liberal Arts and Refugee and Migration Studies

Ahmed Ibrahim (B.A., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities; Ph.D., City University of New York [CUNY], Graduate Center) teaches courses at the intersection of refugee and migration studies and the anthropology of religion.

His current research project is an ethnography of Somali communities in Minnesota. The research aims to challenge the assumed congruence between nation and political space by examining how social and political movements in Somalia both influence Somali political organizing in the US and effect how Somali communities are administered under the US security state. The project examines sites as diverse as US government supported programs to “counter violent extremism,” local Somali civic activism in the US, and political campaigns that span from Minneapolis to Mogadishu.

His dissertation, “The Shari῾a Courts of Mogadishu: Beyond ‘African Islam’ and ‘Islamic Law’,” explored the ethics and politics of Shari῾a in Mogadishu, Somalia, through a historical ethnography of a movement whose response to the demands of the present were informed by practices, discourses, and norms rooted in a centuries-old Islamic tradition. The first article to emerge from the dissertation is entitled “Changing of the Guards: Politico-Religious Authority and Islamic Education in Mogadishu,” and will appear in the journal Islamic Africa.

Adeeb Khalid
Adeeb Khalid Profile
Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor of Asian Studies and History

Adeeb Khalid (BA, McGill University; MA, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) teaches a variety of courses on Central Asia, Russia, and the Middle East. His research interests center on the history of the sedentary societies of Central Asia from the time of the Russian conquest of the 1860s to the present. He is particularly interested in the transformations of culture and identity as a result of historical change. The fate of Islam under Tsarist and Soviet rule has occupied a central place in his research.

Professor Khalid’s research has been supported by grants from a number of foundations: the Guggenheim Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, and IREX. He is the author of three books: The Politics of Muslim Cultural Reform: Jadidism in Central Asia , published by the University of California Press in 1998; Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia (University of California Press, 2007), which won the 2008 Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies “for the most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian, and East European studies in any discipline of the humanities or social sciences published in English in the United States in the previous calendar year;” and Making Uzbekistan: Nation, Revolution, and Empire in the Early USSR, about Central Asia in the early Soviet period (1917-1932), published in November 2015 by Cornell University Press.

Yaron Klein
Yaron Klein Profile
Associate Professor of Arabic
Senior Lecturer in Oud
Off Campus: Fall 2017

Yaron Klein (BA, Tel Aviv University; MA, PhD, Harvard University) teaches courses on Arabic language, literature, and music. His special interests are classical Arabic literature (adab), music in the medieval Arab world, and contemporary Arab music.

Hicham Bou Nassif
Hicham Bou Nassif Profile
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Off Campus: Fall 2017 through Winter 2018

Hicham Bou Nassif completed his PhD at Indiana University, Bloomington. He also holds a Doctorate of International Law from the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik, Lebanon, Law School. He has taught at Indiana University as well as at the Université Libanaise, Lebanon, Law School and the Université La Sagesse, Lebanon, Department of Political Science. He was a field reporter for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) and has worked as an editorial assistant for The American Political Science Association (APSA) Perspectives on Politics.

Professor Bou Nassif is a native speaker of Arabic, is fluent in English and French, and reads and writes Farsi. His research interests include civil-military relations; authoritarian regimes; civil wars and ethnic conflicts; and Middle East politics. He has done field work in Egypt, Tunisia, and Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon.

Professor Bou Nassif posts information and articles of interest on his Facebook page Eye on the Middle East.

Morgan Rood
Morgan Rood Profile
Visiting Assistant Professor of Linguistics

Morgan Rood (B.A., Boston College, Ph.D. Georgetown University) teaches courses in linguistics with a specialty in Semitic languages. Her primary area of research includes the morphology and syntax of the Modern South Arabian languages, an understudied set of Semitic languages spoken in Yemen and Oman. In addition to Modern South Arabian, Morgan has also investigated the structure of Yemeni Arabic and Amharic (spoken in Ethiopia), as well as conducted fieldwork in Israel, Yemen and the UAE. Morgan is also interested in language policy and the status of linguistic minorities in the Middle East. You can find out more about Morgan’s current research and fieldwork at her website, www.morganrood.com.

Sandra Rousseau
Sandra Rousseau Profile
Assistant Professor of French

Sandra Rousseau (Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University) teaches courses about contemporary France, Algeria and the Algerian War, history, and memory. She is developing classes focused on visual media and more particularly on graphic novels and comic strips. Her research interests include Maghreb and Mashrek cultural productions, stand-up comedy as memory, humor and trauma, and contemporary pop culture. Her current project investigates the intersection of humor and memory in the context of Franco-Algerian relations. If she could suggest a book today it would be Ô nuits, Ô mes yeux by Lebanese writer/painter Lamia Ziadé.

Thabiti Willis
Thabiti Willis Profile
Associate Professor of History

I am a historian of Africa and its diaspora whose early work focuses on the history and memory of slavery in West Africa and the Atlantic World. My early work has led me to look for comparable models in East Africa and the Arabian side of the Indian Ocean. My new work, titled “African Divers and Arab Merchants: Slavery, Work, and Heritage in the Gulf,” identifies connections and tensions that have emerged within the gender discourses and narratives of the pearling trade, which served as a defining feature of Bahrain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In what ways have heritage sites constructed (or limited) the identities of pearl divers and those of merchants and boat captains? What does an examination of the treatment of divers and merchants in Bahrain’s heritage sites reveal about the socio-cultural and labor hierarchies that inform the selection of particular people as mattering, or not mattering, to the nation-building projects that heritage sites advance? Viewing slavery as a racializing and gendering process, I question whether adult male divers remained effectively “boys” while merchants and captains achieved a status as prominent men worthy of praise by their descendants and state actors who have protected their legacies.

“African Divers and Arab Merchants” builds on a chapter that I wrote for an edited volume titled Museums in Arabia: Transnational Practices and Regional Processes. In this chapter, I analyze a pearling exhibit at the Dubai Museum to illustrate how people originating in Ethiopia, the Sudan, and Tanzania among other places in East Africa have been marginalized within the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) heritage discourse. This group of people includes slaves brought primarily from East Africa via the region’s leading slave trading port in Zanzibar to dive for pearls in the region in the 19th century and descendants of those slaves in modern Dubai. I argue that the striking image of a black-skinned diver wearing a vibrant white diving suit reflects a local and national narrative that obscures the contributions of people of African descent to Emirati history and culture. I use the concept of heritage informed from below as a starting point for interpreting the representations of pearl divers in state-sponsored museums and heritage sites in the UAE. This work connects with a growing body of scholarship on comparative slavery that views pearl diving as challenging long-held views of slavery in Arab and Islamic societies. It also draws inspiration from work with student exhibitions and scholarship that examines museums and their collections in two of my classes.

In addition, I am currently developing an Off-Campus Studies full-term program tentatively titled, “Cultural and Commercial Encounters between African and Arabia.” It draws on the records of runaway slaves to trace their migration from Zanzibar in East Africa through the Omani ports of Muscat and Sur to Bahrain, where many slaves labored as pearl divers before seeking refuge at a local British agent. This program traces this journey by exploring the societies that produced these people and their migrations. Zanzibar, Oman, and Bahrain are places where encounters occurred between Africans and Arabs and where students will study these complex and evolving relations. This program aims to deepen understanding the global connections linking Africa and the Arab world.

Affiliated Faculty

Jeremy DeAngelo
Jeremy DeAngelo Profile
Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Jessica Keating
Jessica Keating Profile
Assistant Professor of Art History
Off Campus: Fall 2017 through Spring 2018
Alex Knodell
Alex Knodell Profile
Assistant Professor of Classics
Off Campus: Fall 2017 through Spring 2018
Victoria Morse
Victoria Morse Profile
Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Professor of History
Off Campus: Fall 2017
William North
William North Profile
Director of European Studies
Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Professor of History
Shana Sippy
Shana Sippy Profile
Research Associate in Religion

Staff

Sandy Saari
Sandy Saari
Administrative Assistant in Religion
Administrative Assistant in Philosophy

Student Advisors

Gray Babbs ’18
Gray Babbs ’18
Miko Zeldes-Roth ’18
Miko Zeldes-Roth ’18 Profile