Dr. Anderson joined NYUAD, as a Senior Humanities Research Fellow, in fall 2016.
Lisa Anderson served as President of the American University in Cairo for five years, stepping down on January 1, 2016. Prior to her appointment as President, she was the University’s provost, a position she had assumed in 2008.
As AUC provost, Dr. Anderson helped manage the transfer of all the University’s degree programs to the new purpose-built campus in New Cairo and presided over the establishment of three new schools — the School of Business, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, and Graduate School of Education — and the University’s first PhD program, in Sciences and Engineering.
As AUC president, Dr. Anderson navigated through the most significant political upheavals in the University’s history, serving during the terms of four different Egyptian presidents, all the while ensuring that the academic programs continued to improve. At the end of her term, the University’s global ranking was better and applications were higher than ever before; Dr. Anderson raised four of the University’s five largest gifts, including a USD 14 million gift to support fellowships.
Dr. Anderson is Dean Emerita of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, where she led the school from 1997-2007. She was on the faculty of Columbia since 1986. Prior to her appointment as Dean, she served as Chair of the Political Science Department and Director of Columbia's Middle East Institute. She held the James T. Shotwell Chair in International Relations in the Political Science Department. Before coming to Columbia, she taught at Harvard University in the Government and Social Studies departments.
Dr. Anderson’s research has included work on state formation in the Middle East and North Africa; on regime change and democratization in developing countries; and on social science, academic research and public policy both in the United States and around the world. She is author of The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980 (1986), co-editor of The Origins of Arab Nationalism (1991), editor of Transitions to Democracy (1999) and author of Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (2003), as well as numerous scholarly articles.
Dr. Anderson served on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch from 1988-2003; as the President of the Middle East Studies Association in 2003 and on the Council of the American Political Science Association from 2004-2006. She also served on the Board of Trustees of the American University in Cairo (2006-2008) and as Chair of the Board of the Social Science Research Council (1998-2008). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Columbia University, where she earned her PhD in Political Science, Dr. Anderson received honorary doctorates from Monmouth University in 2002 and the American University of Paris in 2015.
Marilyn Booth, as a Senior Research Fellow at NYUAD, joined in September 2014. She is writing a book on early Egyptian/Arab feminism and on women’s contributions to the nahda in the final twenty years of the nineteenth century. The book focuses on the writer Zaynab Fawwaz (c1850-1914), who immigrated from Ottoman Lebanon to Egypt and wrote articles in the press, two novels, and a play.
She’s perhaps best known for her massive biographical dictionary of world women, al-Durr al-manthur fi tabaqat rabbat al-khudur (1893-6). Marilyn just wrote a book about that book (Classes of Ladies of Cloistered Lives: Writing Feminist History through Biography in fin-de-siècle Egypt, Edinburgh University Press, January 2015). Fascinating, complicated, and distinct from most of the early Arab women writers, Fawwaz merits further attention.
For the past five years she holds the Iraq Chair in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Before that, she taught in the Comparative Literature department at the University of Illinois, US, as well as Brown University (US) and the American University in Cairo (Egypt). Her year at New York University Abu Dhabi marks another transition: at the end of her fellowship she will be moving to Oxford (UK) as the Khalid b. Abdallah Al Saud Professor of the Study of the Contemporary Arab World, at the Oriental Institute and Magdalen College, University of Oxford. For her, this is also a return, since she wrote her DPhil dissertation at Oxford (St Antony’s College) and was the Joanna McIver Junior Research Fellow there (St Hugh’s College) before moving to Cairo for a job with Project HOPE.
Her areas of interest span gender studies, Arabic literature, auto/biography studies, translation studies and the practice of literary translation, vernacular culture and dialect literatures, and cultural history especially in the context of imperialised societies.
Her previous single-authored books concern Egyptian dialect poetry and popular prose, and intersections of biography, gender debates, and feminism. She also translated a dozen or so novels and short story collections from the Arabic. While remaining focused on the Arab region she is increasingly keen to explore linkages historically between Arab societies and those of south Asia, and to think broadly about circulations of texts — through translation, travel literature, newspaper ‘borrowings,’ and the like — across subcontinental ‘divides’. She feels that Abu Dhabi is a perfect site from which to begin exploring.
J. Andrew Bush joined NYUAD in September 2014 as a Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Fellowship program. He has conducted ethnographic research with Iraqi Kurds for more than ten years in the United States and the Kurdistan region of Iraq, spanning topics such as religion, literature, gender and kinship, nationalism, and violence.
His abiding interest lies in how textual fragments from religious discourses are received and reworked in the intimate relationships that make up everyday life. His dissertation research focused on the everyday ethics of Muslims in Kurdistan who turn away from pietistic aspirations while at the same time citing Sufi poetry and sustaining intimate relations with more pious Muslims.
Building on that work, he is drafting a book manuscript, tentatively titled A Threadbare Prayer Mat: Sufi Poetry and the Texture of Everyday life in Kurdistan, that provides an ethnographic account of poetry’s appearance in ordinary life. The manuscript is itself an experiment in rendering the texture of life in prose that is interspersed with poetry. Engaging theories of religion, ethics, and desire, he argues that everyday life in Kurdistan engenders and sustains a broad range of paradoxes that are not yet acknowledged in studies of religious life.
His interest in the deeper history of poetry’s fragmentation and recontextualization in Kurdistan led him to the epistolary letters (saturated with classical Persian poetry) of Mawlana Khalid Naqshbandi, an early 19th century revivalist figure who inspired a renaissance of Sorani Kurdish poetry.
While at NYU Abu Dhabi, he broadens this historical perspective by examining two further archives that open windows onto the lives of ordinary Muslims in Kurdistan who turn away from pietism. One is the transformation of non-Muslim figures of thought in Sorani Kurdish poetry over the past two centuries. Tracing figures such as Jesus, the Christian boy, the Zoroastrian priest, and the Jewish maiden, he asks how the attraction of their heretical potential changed as new religious discourses emerged in Kurdistan.
The second archive was formed around the ‘jihadi’ Islamist movements that developed in Kurdistan in the second half of the twentieth century. Here he focuses on sermons — poetic texts punctuated with poetry — recorded during a peak of Islamists’ armed struggle in Kurdistan in the 1990’s. Analyzing such discourse in the context of larger processes of secularization and the violence of the Ba’athist regime, he also examines the forms of skepticism and disappointment that discourse engendered among many ordinary Muslims in Kurdistan.
In addition to ethnographic surveys of the Middle East and approaches to critical Muslim intellectual traditions, he has taught courses on Western receptions of Islamicate literature, and on marriage and masculinity in Muslim societies. Inspired by new ethnographic research he conducted in 2014 on marriage and divorce proceedings in Kurdistan, he looks forward to developing courses on the mutual absorptions of everyday life and shari’a, or Islamic ‘law.’
Caner Dagli is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Dagli holds an MA from George Washington University's Department of Religion and a PhD from Princeton University's Department of Near Eastern Studies, and was a 2004-2005 Fulbright scholar. He spent a year working as Special Advisor to the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan for Interfaith Affairs from 2006-2007. Dagli was one of the 138 Muslim signatories in October 2007 of "A Common Word Between Us and You," a letter addressed to Christian leaders in an appeal for peace and cooperation between the two world religions. His first book The Ringstones of Wisdom (2004) was a full translation and annotated commentary on Ibn ʿArabī’s Sufi-Philosophical treatise, Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam, published by Great Books of the Islamic World. He is a general editor of The Study Quran (2015), and recently published a new book, Ibn al-ʿArabī and Islamic Intellectual Culture: From Mysticism to Philosophy in Routledge’s Sufi Series.
Caner joined NYUAD in September 2016 as a Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program.
Dr. Allen Fromherz is Associate Professor of Mediterranean, Middle East, and Gulf History at Georgia State University in Atlanta. His first two books, The Almohads: the Rise of an Islamic Empire (IB Tauris) and Ibn Khaldun, Life and Times (Edinburgh) examine the rise of Empire in lineage-based societies in North Africa. Qatar, A Modern History (Georgetown, 2013) focuses on the importance of memory and history in Qatari and Gulf society from the 19th century to the present.
Spanning both North Africa and the Middle East, Dr. Fromherz's most recent work focuses on the history of maritime, composite cultures from the Mediterranean to the Gulf. He completed The Near West: North Africa and the Medieval Western Mediterranean (Edinburgh, expected 2016) and is currently writing The Global Gulf: A History under contract with Harvard University Press. The Global Gulf focuses on the long term history of cosmopolitan culture in the Gulf. It also examines the role and meaning of heritage and memory in the Gulf today.
In addition to previously holding fellowships from Gerda Henkel Stiftung and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, Dr. Fromherz is a Senior Fellow at the NYU Abu Dhabi Humanities Institute in spring of 2016.
He has written and managed research projects on the the international politics of energy and natural resources.
His next book, provisionally entitled OPEC: A History of Petroleum, will be published by Oxford University Press.
Neelima Jeychandran joined NYUAD in September 2015, as a Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program.
Jeychandran is a scholar of visual cultures and performances of South Asia and West Africa. She has also worked as an independent curator on several ethnographic and contemporary art exhibitions. She was awarded a PhD in Culture and Performance from University of California, Los Angeles in June 2014. Her dissertation research was funded by the Fowler Museum at UCLA and Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Mellon Fellowship and other institutions such as the UCLA International Institute and the Smithsonian Institution.
Houda Lazrak joined NYUAD in September 2015, as a Research Assistant in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program.
Born and raised in Casablanca Morocco, Houda pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in Montreal, double-majoring in Cultural Anthropology and Human Geography. Currently a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University, Houda is interested in exploring the interactions between art and society: the creative ways in which society inspires art and the subtle manners in which art informs society.
Her current and past internships at prestigious museum institutions, including the New York Public Library of Performing Arts and the Museum of the City of New York, along with her passion for public art, prompts her to continually view, photograph, investigate, and document works of art in various contexts. As a content contributor to several artistic online platforms, Houda hopes to share these finds to encourage dialogue and spark interests about the broader social contexts that govern global artistic production.
For her master's thesis, Houda will be exploring the complex implications of exhibiting graffiti and street art in institutionalized museum settings throughout this past decade.
After completing his PhD at the University of Berne (Switzerland), Jan Loop was awarded a Frances A Yates long-term research fellowship at the Warburg Institute (London). In September 2012 he joined the School of History at the University of Kent as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Early Modern History.
Jan is also a founding member of the Centre for the History of Arabic Studies In Europe (CHASE) at the Warburg Institute, London and a Principle Investigator for the European funded collaborative research project Encounters with the Orient in Early Modern European Scholarship (EOS).
Jan’s teaching and research interests are in the intellectual, religious and cultural history of Europe and the Near East, with a special focus on Western knowledge of the Arab, Ottoman, and Persian world between 1450-1800. His first book, Auslegungskulturen (2003), is a comparative study of Christian and Islamic hermeneutic concepts in early modern times. His second book, a monograph on the Reformed Church historian and orientalist Johann Heinrich Hottinger (1620-1667) and the significance of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the seventeenth century, appeared in 2013 in the Oxford-Warburg series. Jan is currently working on a monograph centered on the life and work of the Anglo-Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig (John Lewis) Burckhardt (1784-1817). Based on the study of hitherto unpublished documents, this monograph will shed new light on Burckhardt’s seminal contributions to our understanding of Arab life, culture and society.
Jan Loop is the general editor of Brill’s series "History of Oriental Studies," as well as being on the editorial board of Droz’s new series "Hermai." He is currently preparing a special issue of the Journal of Qur’anic Studies on The Qur’an in Europe (2018) and, together with Alastair Hamilton and Charles Burnett, a paper collection on the Learning and Teaching of Arabic in Early Modern Europe (Brill, 2016).
Jan joined NYUAD Humanities Research Fellowship Program, as a Senior Research Fellow, in fall 2016
Matthew MacLean joined NYUAD in September 2014 as a Research Assistant in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program. He spent his fourth year in the Joint Program in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYUAD.
His dissertation research is on the spatial transformation of the Trucial States and United Arab Emirates in the second half of the twentieth century, in particular how the development of the UAE's infrastructure (particularly housing, roads, and ports) made possible the emergence of Emirati national identity. He pays special attention to the emergence of the UAE state and aim to place Emirati history in its wider regional and global contexts. He was a Fulbright student in the UAE in 2006-07 at Zayed University in Dubai while completing his MA thesis on US foreign policy in the Gulf in the 1970s.
One of his favorite activities is exploring the rural areas of the UAE, especially in Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. Prior to entering graduate school, he taught history at the high school level in Brooklyn, NY for eight years.
Anne-Marie McManus is assistant professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Culture at Washington University in St. Louis, where she teaches in the departments of Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (JINELC) and Comparative Literature. Her research engages debates in comparative and world literatures, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, translation theory, and anthropology, with a particular interest in the multilingual and circulational literary ties that have internally traversed North Africa and the Middle East since decolonization.
As a Humanities Fellow at NYU Abu Dhabi, she will complete her first book, titled Of Other Languages: Arabic Literature, Decolonization, and Materialities of Language, which is under contract with Northwestern University Press. She will also develop her writings on ruination in contemporary Syrian literature and political thought, which emerged from her work as co-founding director of Washington University in St. Louis' interdisciplinary "Wastelands" seminar. Her work has received support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Fulbright, and her recent writings appear in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Expressions maghrébines, Arab Studies Journal, and Jadaliyya. She received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University in 2013.
Laila Prager is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Hamburg (Germany) and a member of AGYA (Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities). Formerly, she worked as a researcher and senior lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Münster and Leipzig (Germany). She has conducted ethnographic research among Bedouin societies in Syria and Jordan, with a special emphasis on the narrative representation and performance of the past. In addition, she has done extensive fieldwork among the Arab speaking Alawi/Alawite (Nusairy) society in South Eastern Turkey (Hatay/Çukurova) and among Alawi migrant communities in Germany, focusing on topics relating to kinship, cosmology, inter-religious conflicts, ritual healing, and migration. She has also conducted research among Kuwaiti-Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Germany.
Since 2014, her research focuses on the upsurge of heritage related discourses and performances in the Gulf Region. Drawing on data collected during fieldwork in the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Syria, and Jordan, Prager is undertaking an extensive comparative study of the various ways in which heritage is displayed, enacted, and appropriated at local, national, and transnational levels. In this context, Prager examines heritage museums and parks, cultural festivals, local sport events, oral history initiatives, the reinvigoration of “traditional” art and architecture, heritage as covered in various media productions, and the interrelations between local heritage productions and UNESCO World Heritage discourses. By looking into the ways in which ‘heritage’ is utilized to frame and legitimize cultural identities, Prager is particularly interested in the revitalization of imageries relating to ‘Bedouinities,’ ‘Tribalism,’ and ‘Auto-Orientalism.’
Moreover, Prager is building up an interdisciplinary research project on the societal transformations emerging from the increase of major diseases in the Gulf region, such as diabetes type 2, thalassemia, and other genetically induced illnesses.
Laila Prager joined NYUAD in September 2016 as a Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program.
Anna is a doctoral candidate in Ethnomusicology in the FAS Department of Music at New York University New York. Subsequent to her tenure with the NYU Abu Dhabi Research Institute, Anna received an NYU Humanities Initiative Graduate Fellowship to complete her dissertation writing in residence at NYU New York during the 2014-15 academic year.
Anna’s research focuses on the sonic cultures and philosophies of the western Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Arab Gulf. Her scholarship combines history, ethnography, theology, and queer feminism at the intersection of music and sound studies. In her work, she strives to recognize suffering and courage as fundamental components of human being, and to assert their recognition as crucial to the Humanities endeavor.
The locus of her work is sawt — an Arabic concept that fuses all forms of acoustical resonance with voice, presence, and soundness of being. She is particularly interested in how sawt is deployed within heterodox forms of spiritual practice, and in how sound and human integrity are entangled, neurologically and environmentally, in material bodies that are simultaneously personal and collective.
Her dissertation, “Ṣawt Ṭanjah: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics, Acoustics and Civic Life in Modern Tangier,” is an experiment in historical writing that examines sawt through a study of bare life, sonorous matter and technologies of the soul in Tangier, Morocco.
Upon completion of the PhD, Anna intends to undertake a long-term study of music, power, gender, and sea-lust in the sovereign court of sixteenth-century North African pirate queen Sayyida al-Hurra. To support auxiliary interests in Maghrebi psych rock, urban art musics of the pre-oil Gulf, and early gramophone cultures of the Islamic world more generally, she collects old 45s and 78s produced in the region. Anna was trained as a pianist in the Western classical tradition, holds a BFA in Music History and earned an MA in Social Anthropology from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Reynolds Richter is a PhD candidate in History at New York University, specializing in modern African history and colonial legal history. His work contributes to ongoing debates about land, ethnicity, and citizenship in Africa by showing how possibilities for unifying Kenya’s plural legal system — comprised of “customary,” Islamic, and English law jurisdictions — opened and closed during the era of decolonization and independence.
His dissertation, “Law, Decolonization, and the Re-Making of Property in Coastal Kenya, 1945-1981,” explores how the Kenyan state’s efforts to replace the plurality of forms of land ownership with a single model based on English law created an institutional environment in which, paradoxically, land claims based on social status and local history could thrive. The project analyzes records of land disputes in the coastal hinterland to reveal how the region’s local courts became sites for the continual re-negotiation of generational authority, local belonging, and gendered property relations.
Before coming to NYU, Richter received an MA in African Studies from Yale University and a BA in International Studies and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to the NYU Abu Dhabi Humanities Research Fellowship, his research has been funded by the Fulbright-Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, and a Mellon Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities at New York University. His future plans include completing his first book manuscript and embarking on a new project that explores the legal culture of risk in postcolonial East Africa.
Research Interests: Islamic philosophy, Sufism, and Quranic hermeneutics
Ella Shohat joined NYUAD in February 2016, as a Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program. Currently, Ella is Professor of Cultural Studies at New York University. Her books include: Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices (Duke Univ. Press, 2006); Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation (University of Texas Press, 1989; Updated edition with a new postscript chapter, I.B. Tauris, 2010); Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age (MIT & The New Museum of Contemporary Art, 1998); Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation and Postcolonial Perspectives (co-edited, University of Minnesota Press, 1997); Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora (co-edited, The University of Michigan Press, 2013, Honorable Mention in the Non-Fiction Category of the 2014 Arab American Book Award, The Arab American Museum); and with Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism (winner of the Katherine Kovacs Singer Best Book Award, Routledge, 1994; 2nd Edition for the book’s 20th Anniversary, with a new Afterward chapter, Routledge, 2014); Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality and Transnational Media (Rutgers University Press, 2003); Flagging Patriotism: Crises of Narcissism and Anti-Americanism (Routledge, 2007); and Race in Translation: Culture Wars Around the Postcolonial Atlantic (NYU press, 2012). She co-edited a number of special issues for the journal Social Text, including “Edward Said: A Memorial Issue,” “Palestine in a Transnational Context,” and “911-A Public Emergency?” while her writing has been translated into over 10 languages.
Shohat has also served on the editorial board of several journals, including: Social Text; Middle Critique; Meridians; Interventions; and Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. She is a recipient of such fellowships as Rockefeller and the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, where she also taught at The School of Criticism and Theory; together with Sinan Antoon, she was awarded the NYU Humanities Initiative fellowship for their “Narrating Iraq: Between Nation and Diaspora;” and Shohat was awarded a Fulbright research / lectureship at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, for studying the cultural intersections between the Middle East and Latin America.
Dale joined NYUAD in September 2014, as a Research Fellow in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program. His scholarly interests center on the history of the Middle East during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Broadly, he is interested in how changes in the environment resulting from both human and non-human action relate to social and political change.
His current research deals with water and hydraulic engineering in the Tigris-Euphrates basin during the early and middle part of the twentieth century. The human handling and exploitation of Mesopotamia’s water has had a profound impact on the formation of political communities in the rivers’ basin for millennia, but the period of modern development has received very little attention from historians.
In his dissertation, he examined the action of both nature (in the form of floods and droughts) and human hydraulic management to explain how the environment figured into the shift from empire to nation-state and the diverse processes of modern state formation in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. His work has been heavily influenced by research in various fields of social science especially geography.
After his fellowship year at NYUAD, he will join the history faculty at the University of Colorado Denver as an Assistant Professor of International Studies
Hollian Wint joined NYUAD in January 2016, as a Research Assistant in the Humanities Research Fellowship Program.
Hollian is a PhD Candidate in African History at New York University. She is currently completing her dissertation entitled, “Credible Relations: Indian Finance and East African Society in the Indian Ocean, c. 1840-1930”, which traces transformations in the trans-local socio-financial relations that connected western India and coastal East Africa. For this project, she completed three years of research in Gujarat, Bombay, Kachchh, Zanzibar, and the UK with the support of the American Institute of Indian Studies and a Fulbright- Hays DDRA Fellowship.
She is the author of a forthcoming chapter entitled “Keeping it in the Family? Her- and His-Stories among Gujarati Business Communities in the Nineteenth Century Indian Ocean.”
Luke Yarbrough, since 2013 an Assistant Professor in the History Department at Saint Louis University, earned his PhD in 2012 in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. In the fall of that year he was a fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
His research is concerned with the history of the premodern Middle East and North Africa, especially inter-communal relations; law and other prescriptive discourses; Arabic historiography; the oral transmission of knowledge; and comparative history. Recently his edition-translation of a thirteenth-century polemic from Egypt was published in NYU Press's Library of Arabic Literature, as The Sword of Ambition: Bureaucratic Rivalry in Medieval Egypt.
As a Junior Research Fellow at NYUAD in 2016-17, he will complete a book about how premodern Muslim writers responded when Muslim rulers hired non-Muslim state officials. He will also study two unpublished texts from medieval Egypt, by a Muslim and a Jewish author, on law and tax administration, respectively; write articles about such things as the transmission of the infamous "Pact of 'Umar," a pilfered chronicle by Saladin's nephew, and non-Muslims in the literary works of a Cordoban qadi; and lay groundwork for a book on the Ayyubid period in Egypt (ca. 1171-1250).