William Zimmerle

Senior Lecturer, Arts and Humanities; Affiliated Faculty Member of the History Program Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Email: wgz1@nyu.edu
Education: PhD University of Pennsylvania; MDiv Harvard University; BA Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Campus; PgCert University of Edinburgh School of Law

Research Areas: Anthropology, Writing, and Ethnography; Arabian Archaeology; Museum Studies; Religion and Ritual; Semitic Languages; Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development


William Gerard Zimmerle is both the Director of the Dhofar Ethnography Preservation Project: Documenting the Cuboid Incense Burner in the Sultanate of Oman, and the Dhofar Rock Art & Inscriptions Project: A Digital Humanities Initiative in the Sultanate. Both field projects are under the auspices of the Diwan of the Royal Court, Sultanate of Oman.

He completed his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, where he specialized in Near Eastern Archaeology, Ancient History, and Semitic Epigraphy. As part of his dissertation, he conducted extensive research on the Arabian incense trade from its earliest beginnings through the early Islamic period in the Near East Section at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He holds a graduate certificate in African Studies (Ethiopic languages) from Penn’s Center for African Studies and a post-graduate certificate (PgCert) in Intellectual Property law from the University of Edinburgh School of Law in Scotland. He is currently a Special Lecturer in Near Eastern Studies and Heritage Diplomacy at Fairleigh Dickinson University's Graduate School of Public and Global Affairs. He is also a faculty member of the Humanities Research Institute at NYUAD.

He is the recipient of numerous external fellowships and awards including the Sylvan C. and Pamela Coleman Curatorial Research Fellow in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan; the Samuel H. Kress Fellow in the History of Art at the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman, Jordan; the Terrace Research Associate in Egyptian Art in the Department of Art of the Ancient World at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA; Visiting Scholar in Religion (Ethiopic Studies) at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ; the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center Research Fellow in Washington, DC and Muscat, Oman; the Educational and Cultural Affairs Fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem; the American Institute of Yemeni Studies Research Fellow; the American Institute of Archaeology/Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Exchange Fellow in the Oriental Department in Berlin, Germany; and the United States Fulbright Commission Post-Doctoral Fellow at Dhofar University, the Sultanate of Oman.

He previously taught as an Assistant Professor of Social Science (Sociology and World History) at Dhofar University in Salalah; Assistant Professor of Humanities (Digital Emphasis) at Fairleigh Dickinson University; Visiting Professor of Writing at NYUAD; Lecturer in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC 104 Jerusalem through the Ages; NELC 155 The Bible and Archaeology) at the University of Pennsylvania; and Adjunct Instructor of Archaeology and Geography (ANTH 02203 Introduction to Archaeology) at Rowan University in New Jersey. Prior to these academic positions, he was the Inter-Religious Dialogue Coordinator at the Boston Theological Institute while a graduate student in religion at Harvard University.

His academic research interests are interdisciplinary and include the following: Pre-Islamic and early Islamic material culture of the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa; Arabian incense burners; the history of perfumes and scents; organic residue analysis (LC-MS) and the frankincense trade; intellectual property and cultural heritage law; archaeological tourism and sustainable development; the archaeology and history of first millennium BC Mesopotamia, Arabia, and the Levant; epigraphic South Arabian languages; Arabian rock art; and all aspects of Digital Humanities including GIS, Remote Sensing, and 3D imaging of material culture for heritage preservation.

Courses