From a core of four scholars in 1957, the faculty corps involved in Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at UCLA has grown to include more than 60 individuals across the humanities, social sciences and professional fields.

These faculty have mentored more than 1000 current and former graduate students, thereby assuring the growth and diversification of the field and the profession. As a collective, they have contributed significantly through their research and travel to deepening our knowledge base and our understanding of the Middle East and its people, both in the region and in diaspora.

Their accomplishments in the past five years include hundreds of publications on a variety of topics, from a concise history of the modern Middle East to works on aspects of Islamic law, Ottoman historiography, Arabic music, Ismaili legal doctrine, Persian philosophy, modern Iran, and the evolution of Biblical Hebrew. Three UCLA faculty have translated five volumes of al-Tabari’s History in the SUNY Press edition.

CNES faculty have excelled professionally as well, five having served as president of the Middle East Studies Association (including G.E. von Grunebaum, MESA’s honorary first president in 1966), while other faculty are active members of various MESA committees. Many have been recognized for their teaching and lifetime achievements, including Afaf Marsot and Nikki Keddie who received the MESA Mentorship Award in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

UCLA faculty took the lead in forming the California Middle East Social and Cultural History Association (CAL-MESCHA) and founding the UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law.

Affiliated Faculty


Art History


Comparative Literature




French and Francophone Studies

Gender Studies


Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Political Science

  • Michael L. Ross
    Professor of Political Science, Director of Center for Southeast Asian Studies 2008-2013
  • Steven L. Spiegel
    Professor, Political Science
    Director, Center for Middle East Development


World Arts and Cultures