Representative Faculty with Expertise in the Middle East and North Africa

Yale has a faculty that is notably well equipped to expand research on the challenges to sound governance in the Middle East and North Africa:

Abbas Amanat is Professor of History and of International and Area Studies specializing in modern Iran and the Middle East, Shi’ism, and apocalypticism. He is also the director of the Yale Iranian Studies Initiative. His publications include Apocalyptic Islam and Iranian Shi’ism (2009), Pivot of the Universe: Nasir al-Din Shah and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896 (1997), and Resurrection and Renewal: the Making of the Babi Movement in Iran, 1844-1850 (1989). He is the co-editor of several volumes, among them Shari’a: Islamic Law in the Contemporary Context (2007).

Gerhard Böwering is Professor of Islamic Studies. He is a co-editor of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought (2012). Recently he edited several works by the important Sufi and Qur’an commentator al-Sulami. He is the author of The Mystical Vision of Existence in Classical Islam (1979).

Rosie Bsheer is Assistant Professor of History. She focuses on the modern Middle East, specializing in Arab intellectual and social movements, petro-capitalism and state formation, and the production of historical knowledge and commemorative spaces. She is currently working on a book manuscript, provisionally entitled, Crude Empire: Transnational Infrastructures of State Making in Saudi Arabia. She is Associate Producer of the 2007 Oscar-nominated film My Country, My Country and a co-editor of Jadaliyya E-zine, The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012), and Theorizing the Arabian Peninsula (Tadween Publishing, 2013).

Robyn Creswell is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University, and poetry editor of The Paris Review. His research focuses on poetic modernisms in English, French, and Arabic. He is the recipient of the 2013 Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism.

John C. Darnell is Professor of Egyptology and director of the Yale Egyptological Institute in Egypt and of the Yale Toshka Desert Survey. He specializes in ancient Egyptian religion, cryptography, the scripts and texts of Graeco-Roman Egypt, and the archaeological and epigraphic remains of ancient activity in the Egyptian Western Desert, and is an expert on Ancient Egyptian rock inscriptions and lapidary hieratic. He is the co-author, with Colleen Manassa, of Tutankhamun’s Armies: Battle and Conquest During Ancient Egypt’s Late Eighteenth Dynasty (2007).

Narges Erami is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of International and Area Studies specializing in the Holy city of Qum in Iran who works on the relationship between economy and religion and how it is played out in the rituals of everyday life.

Benjamin Foster is the Laffan Professor of Assyriology and Babylonian Literature and the Curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection. He specializes in Mesopotamian, especially Akkadian, literature, and the social and economic history of Mesopotamia, and has expertise in all periods and text types of Sumerian and Akkadian and all periods of Mesopotamian history from the fourth millennium B.C.E. to the Muslim conquest.

Eckart Frahm is Professor of Assyriology specializing in Assyrian and Babylonian history and Mesopotamian scholarly texts of the first millennium B.C.E., including cuneiform grammatology, the ancient reception of the Gilgamesh epic and the Babylonian epic of creation, Mesopotamian prophecy, Sumerian royal inscriptions and proverbs, Babylonian prisons, and the history of modern scholarship on the ancient Near East. He has expertise in Mesopotamian history, religion, and literature, and the Bible in its ancient Near Eastern setting.

Zareena Grewal is Associate Professor of American Studies and Religious Studies and documentary filmmaker. She specializes in the intersections of race and religion in American Muslim communities and the networks that connect American mosques to the intellectual centers of the Middle East and is the director and producer of a documentary about the scrutiny of American Muslims’ patriotism, By the Dawn’s Early Light: Chris Jackson’s Journey to Islam (2004).

Frank Griffel is Professor of Islamic Studies and of International and Area Studies, and Chair of the Council on Middle East Studies. He specializes in the intellectual history of Islam and its philosophy and theology (both classical and modern). He has recently published Al-Ghazali’s Philosophical Theology (2009) and a translation of one of Ibn Rushd’s (Averroes’) works (2010). He is also the author of Apostasie und Toleranz in Islam (“Apostasy and Tolerance in Islam” in German, 2000) and is the co-editor of Shari’a: Islamic Law in the Contemporary Context (2007).

Dimitri Gutas is Professor of Arabic and Graeco-Arabic. He studies and teaches medieval Arabic and the medieval intellectual tradition in Islamic civilization from different aspects. At the center of his concerns lies the study and understanding of classical Arabic in its many forms as a prerequisite for the proper appreciation of the written sources which inform us about the history and culture of Islamic societies. He also has an abiding interest in the transmission of Greek scientific and philosophical works into the Islamic world through the momentous Graeco-Arabic translation movement in Baghdad during the 8th-10th centuries.

Hannan Hever is Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature in Comparative Literature at Yale University and a Senior Fellow at the Jerusalem Van Leer Institute. He is affiliated with the Yale Program of Judaic Studies and has published extensively about Modern Hebrew Literature and Culture and Theory of Literature and Culture from political, post-national and post-colonial perspectives.

Frank Hole is Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scientist in Anthropology specializing in the history and development of agriculture and animal husbandry. He has traveled and carried out archaeological, ethnographic and land use research in the Near East, first in Iran and currently in Syria. Hole received the Farabi International Award in Tehran on October 29, 2011.

Marcia Inhorn is the William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs in the Department of Anthropology and the MacMillan Center. She specializes in Middle Eastern gender and health issues, conducting research on the social impact of infertility and assisted reproductive technologies in Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Arab America. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies; associate editor of Global Public Health; and co-editor for the Berghahn Book series on “Fertility, Sexuality, and Reproduction.” In 2014, she won the JMEWS Book Prize for The New Arab Man, as well as the JMEWS Scholarly Achievement Award.

Kaveh Khoshnood is Associate Professor in Public Health Practice in the Yale School of Public Health who conducts research and mentors researchers from China, Russia, and Iran and teaches courses on HIV/AIDS, global health and research ethics.

Tolga Köker is Senior Lecturer in Economics specializing in the economics of conflict and the Middle East, and has written on the political economy of Islamism and secularism in Turkey, and on the political economy of Turkey and Iraq.

Adria Lawrence is Associate Professor of Political Science and International and Area Studies specializing in Middle Eastern and North African politics. Her work focuses on conflict and collective action, investigating how people come to mobilize in favor of ideologies such as ethnicity, nationalism, religion, and democracy. She is co-editor of Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict (2010).

Mark Lazenby is Associate Professor of Nursing. In addition to holding a Master’s of Science in Nursing, specializing in oncology, from Yale School of Nursing, he also holds a Master’s in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion from Boston University. He is particularly interested in the phenomenon of existential distress at the time of death of those who consider themselves religiously devout. With American Cancer Society and Milbank Foundation funds, he is developing a spiritually sensitive palliative care intervention for Muslims who are in treatment for cancer in the U.S.

Joseph Manning is the William K. and Marilyn M. Simpson Professor of Classics and History and Senior Research Scholar, Yale Law School. He specializes in Hellenistic history with a particular focus on the legal and economic history of Ptolemaic Egypt. His interests lie in governance, reforms of the state, legal institutions, formation of markets, and the impact of new economic institutions (coinage, banking) on traditional socio-economic patterns in the ancient world.

Andrew March is Associate Professor of Political Science specializing in Islamic political thought, especially the Islamic legal tradition. He is working on Islamic legal theories of the maqasid al-shari‘a (“the purposes of the law”), Islamic moral psychology and the problem of “taking people as they are” in normative ethics, and contemporary Islamic treatments of apostasy. He is the author of Islam and Liberal Citizenship: The Search for an Overlapping Consensus (2009).

Ivan Marcus is the Frederick P. Rose Professor of Jewish History and a Professor of Religious Studies. He works in Jewish history from late antiquity through the early modern period, specializing in the history of Jewish-Christian-Muslim representations of each other, the history of childhood and of life cycle rites of passage. His most recent book is The Jewish Life Cycle: Rites of Passage from Biblical to Modern Times (University of Washington Press, 2004).

Alan Mikhail is Professor of History specializing in Ottoman history, the comparative history of early modern empires, the history of Islamic science and medicine, and environmental history. He has recently published Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt: An Environmental History (2011), for which he was named the inaugural recipient of the Roger Owen Book Award for a work in economic history by the Middle East Studies Association and awarded the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication by Yale.

(Ahmed) Mushfiq Mobarak is Professor of Economics and Management in the Yale School of Management. He is a developmental economist with interests in public finance (environmental and political economy) issues who has done research on financial sector development and economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa.

Kishwar Rizvi is Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture in the History of Art Department. She specializes in Islamic art and architecture, writing on representations of religious and imperial authority in the art and architecture of Safavid Iran, as well as on issues of gender, nationalism and religious identity in modern Iran and Pakistan and on ideology and transnationalism in contemporary mosque architecture in the Middle East. She is the author of The Safavid Dynastic Shrine: History, religion and architecture in early modern Iran (2011).

Lamin Sanneh is the D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity in Yale Divinity School and a Professor of History. He focuses on Christian and Muslim religions. He has studied classical Arabic and Islam and worked in the Middle East, as well as with the churches in Africa and with international organizations concerned with inter-religious issues. He is the author of over a hundred articles on religious and historical subjects, and of several books including Faith and Power: Christianity and Islam in “Secular” Britain (with Lesslie Newbigin and Jenny Taylor, 1998) and The Crown and the Turban: Muslims and West African Pluralism (1997).

Shawkat Toorawa is Professor of Arabic Literature in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He has written extensively about Classic and Medieval Arabic Literature and is currently preparing a critical edition of the Shifa’ al-‘alil by the eighteenth-century belletrist Azad Bilgrami. He is also Co-Executive Editor of the Library of Arabic Literature, an intiative to translate classical and premodern Arabic literature.

Harvey Weiss is Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and of Anthropology and in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. His research interests include Mesopotamia, early agriculture, early cities and empires, Holocene paleoclimatology and the social adaptations to environmental change. He is the director of the Tell Leilan Project, which has redefined the relationships between dynamic natural and social forces in the third millennium B.C. through excavation, GPS/GIS-implemented regional survey and paleoclimatology investigations at one of the largest archaeological sites in Syria.

Jonathan Wyrtzen is Associate Professor of Sociology and International Affairs. He is a comparative historical-sociologist whose work examines the relationships among European imperial expansion, colonial policies of modernization, and state formation in North Africa. He is completing a book manuscript, Constructing Morocco: Colonial State-Building and the Struggle to Define the Nation (1912-1961).

Travis Zadeh is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. His scholarship focuses on Islamic cultural and intellectual history, philosophy and theology, literature of wonder and astonishment, and translation theory as a means of conceptualizing frontiers in epistemic terms. He is a prior Andrew Mellon New Directions Fellow and recipient of a senior research scholar Nehru-Fulbright grant.