The Center brings together over 90 of UCLA’s faculty Middle East specialists across disciplines, along with students and visiting scholars, forming an intellectual community for scholarly collaboration on the region.

Our affiliated faculty share their expertise on the Middle East and North Africa with several thousand students each year, communicate their research via hundreds of publications, and hold prominent positions in the Middle East Studies Association and other scholarly associations in their disciplines.
Center-affiliated faculty, fellows and visiting scholars publish about a dozen books a year on the Middle East in the arts, humanities, social sciences, law, public health, and foreign languages. They publish hundreds of scholarly articles and play a leading role on the editorial boards of such journals as the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES), Journal of Middle East Women's Studies (JMEWS), Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), the Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law (JINEL), and the online magazine Jadaliyya.

Recent faculty publications

The Center's affiliated graduate students specialize in Middle East and North African topics in a wide range of disciplines spanning the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools. We have teamed with students from the departments of Anthropology, Applied Linguistics, Archaeology, Art History, Comparative Literature, Education, Ethnomusicology, French, Geography, German, History, Islamic Studies, Music, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Political Science, Social Welfare, Sociology, Spanish, Theater, Urban Planning, and Women's Studies.


Ziad Munif Abu-Rish, History. Dissertation: Conflict and Institution Building in Lebanon, 1946-1955


Kristina Elizabeth Benson, Islamic Studies. Dissertation: Sources of Authority and Authenticity in American Sharia Law

Eric James Bordenkircher, Islamic Studies. Dissertation: Kings, Queens, Rooks, and Pawns: Deciphering Lebanon’s Political Chessboard

Emily Christine Cooper Cole, NELC. Dissertation: Interpretation and Authority: The Social Functions of Translation in Ancient Egypt

Alma Rachel Heckman, History. Dissertation: Radical Nationalists: Moroccan Jewish Communists 1925-1975


Eric Ryan Wells, NELC. Dissertation: Display and Devotion: A Social and Religious Analysis of New Kingdom Votive Stelae from Asyut


Jared Norris Wolfe, NELC. Dissertation: ZU: The Life of a Sumerian Verb in Early Mesopotamia


Anne Eliese Austin, Archaeology. Dissertation: Contending with Illness in Ancient Egypt; A textual and Osteological Study of Health Care at Deir el-Medina.


Joseph W. Lehner, Archaeology. Dissertation: The Evolution of Metal Industries in Central Anatolia during the Bronze Age ca. 3000 - 1200 BC


Sina Rahmani, Comparative Literature. Dissertation: Blank Subjects: Orphanhood and the Rise of the British Novel


Cameran Ashraf, Geography. Dissertation: The Spatiality of Power in Internet Control and Cyberwar


Anat Mooreville, History. Dissertation: Oculists in the Orient: A History of Trachoma, Zionism, and Global Health, 1882-1973


Murat Yildiz, History. Dissertation: Strengthening Male Bodies and Building Robust Communities: Physical Culture in the Late Ottoman Empire


Parissa Majdi Clark, Political Science. Dissertation: From El Nuevo Despertar to Nonprofit: Changes in Puerto Rican Political Identity in the US. Since 1961


Shabnam Shenasi Azari, Sociology. Dissertation: Ethnic Visibility, Context, and Xenophobia: A European Perspective


Pamela Pricket, Sociology. Dissertation: The Pious Disadvantaged: An Ethnographic Study of African American Muslims in South Central Los Angeles


Sanaz Rezai, Musicology. Dissertation: Orientalism in Maurice Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit”


Claire Gilbert, History. Dissertation: The Politics of Language in Western Mediterranean c.1492-c.1669: Multilingual Institutions and the Status of Arabic in Early Modern Spain


Catherine Elizabeth Pratt, Archaeology. Dissertation: Critical Commodities: Tracing Greek Trade in Oil and Wine from the Late Bronze Age to the Archaic Period


Maryam Wasif Khan, Comparative Literature. Dissertation: Translated Orientalisms: The eighteenth-century Oriental Tale, Colonial Pedagogies, and Muslim Reform


Susan McKibben, Education. Dissertation: Learning Solidarity: Activist Pedagogies and Transnational Knowledge Production in Cuban and Iranian Diasporic Democracy Movements


Tina Beyene, Gender Studies. Dissertation: Gender Based Violence & Submerged Histories: A colonial Genealogy of Violence Against Tutsi women in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide


Tiffany Gleason, History. Dissertation: Coastal Islam: Religion and Identity among Minority Muslims in the French Colonial City of Porto-Novo, 1889-1939


Shushan Karapetian, History. Dissertation: How Do I Teach My Kids My Broken Armenian?’: A Study of Eastern Armenian Heritage Language Speakers in Los Angeles


Patricia Voege, Psychology. Dissertation: The Effects of a Yogic Breath Meditation Intervention on Attention Control and Other Domains of Self-Control


Zeynep Ozgen, Sociology. Dissertation: Schooling, Islamization, and Religious Mobilization in Turkey


Matthew Kelly, History. Dissertation: Crime in the Mandate: British and Zionist Criminological Discourse and Arab Nationalist Agitation in Palestine, 1936-1939

Matthew S. Gottfried, Political Science. Dissertation: The Origins and Consequences of Public Opinion in Coercive Terrorist Crises

Chad Nelson, Political Science. Dissertation: Revolutionary Waves: The International Effects of Threatened Domestic Order




Myrna Angel Douzjian, Comparative Literature. Dissertation: Resistant Postmodernisms: Writing Postcommunism in Armenia and Russia


Leah Amelia Halvorson, Political Science. Dissertation: Inflection Points: Agenda Setting and American Foreign Policy toward Islamist Groups


Devorah Sarah Manekin, Political Science. Dissertation: Waging War among Civilians: The Production and Restraint of Counterinsurgent Violence in the Second Intifada


Josh O’Brien, Sociology. Dissertation: Growing Up Muslim in America: Managing Multiple Cultures in Everyday Life


Yehuda Sharim, Culture and Performance Studies. Dissertation: The Rise and Fall of Sephardic-Mizrahi Autonomy: Racial Identities in Palestine from 1918–1948


Sylva Natalie Manoogian, Library and Information Studies. Dissertation: The Calouste Gulbenkian Library, Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, 1925-1990: An Historical Portrait of a Monastic and Lay Community Intellectual Resource Center


Amy Tahani-Bidmeshki, Comparative Literature. Dissertation: In the Process of Shattering their Chains: The Emergence of the "New Man" on Six Post-WWII African American and Iranian Anticolonial Novels


Sabah Firoz Uddin, Gender Studies. Dissertation: Navigating between the Religious and the Secular: Responding to the Muslim `Woman Question' in Diasporic Britain


Melis Hafez, History. Dissertation: The Lazy, the Idle, the Industrious: Discourse and Practice of Work and Productivity in Late Ottoman Society


James Michael Petitfils, History. Dissertation: Mos Christianorum: The Roman Discourse of Exemplarity and the Jewish and Christian Language of Leadership


Dris Soulaimani, Applied Linguistics. Dissertation: Orthographies and Language Ideologies: Selecting a script for Berber in Morocco


Nahrain Al-Mousawi, Comparative Literature. Dissertation: Clandestine Mediterranean: Arab-African Migrant Literature

Sara Brumfield, NELC. Dissertation: Imperial Methods: Using Text Mining and Social Network Analysis to Detect Regional Strategies in the Akkadian Empire

Hoda El Shakry, Comparative Literature. Dissertation: Qur’anic Invocations: Narrative Temporalities in Twentieth Century Maghrebi Literature


Amanda M. Kenderes, Education. Dissertation: Facebook, Political Narrative, and Political Change: A Case Study of Palestinian Youth

Matthew James McKinney, Islamic Studies. Dissertation: Maintaining True Believers: the Evolution and Moderation of Extremist Movements

Krystal Victoria Lords Pierce, NELC. Dissertation: Living and Dying Abroad: Aspects of Egyptian Cultural Identity in Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Canaan

Susannah Rodriguez Drissi, Comparative Literature. Dissertation: Between Orientalism and Affective Identification: A Paradigm and Four Case Studies towards the Inclusion of the Moor in Cuban Literacy and Cultural Studies

Annette Suzanne Russell, History. Dissertation: In the World but Not of the World: The liminal Life of the Pre-Constantine Christian Communities

Mir Hayim Yarfitz, History. Dissertation: Polacos, White Slaves, and Stille Chuppahs: Organized Prostitution and the Jews of Buenos Aires, 1890-1939


Garabet Moumdjian, History. Dissertation: Struggling for a Constitutional Regime: Armenian-Young Turk Relations in the Era of Abdulhamid II, 1895-1909

Amanda Kenderes, Education. Dissertation: Facebook, Political Narrative, and Political Change: A case study of Palestinian Youth

David Bennet, NELC. The Spirit of Ahypokeimenonical Physics: Another Side of Kalam Natural Philosophy.

Benjamin Dale de Lee, History. Letters, Diplomacy, and Religious Polemic in Ninth-Century Byzantium: Niketas Byzantios and the Problem of Islam.

Marie Ellen Enright, Romance Linguistics and Literature. Bridging the Straits of Gibraltar: Nationalism, Myth and Gender in Contemporary Peninsular and Maghrebi Literatures.

Rachel Louise Kaplan, Social Welfare. Living with HIV/AIDS in Lebanon: Women's Perceptions of Meaning.

Shawki Ebeid El-Zatmah, History. Aha Gun!: A Social and Cultural History of Soccer in Egypt.

Aaron Michael Moreno, History. Arabicizing, Privileges, and Liturgy in Medieval Castilian Toledo: The Problems and Mutations of Mozarab Identitification (1085-1436).

Liora Russman Halperin, History. Babel in Zion: The Politics of Language Diversity in Jewish Palestine, 1920-1948.

Said Fares Ahmed Hassan, Islamic Studies. Reaching from Within: Establishing a New Islamic Jurisprudence for Muslim Minorities in the West (The Discourse of Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat).

Grace Jeongyeon Park, NELC. The Role of Ki’lm in Orchestrating Contrastive Focus in Biblical Hebrew.

Leila Pazargadi, Comparative Literature. Mosaics of Identity: Reading Muslim Women’s Memoirs from Across the Diaspora.

Jennifer Susan Rashidi, Archaeology. Paleoepidemiology of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East: The Impact of Zoonotic Diseases and Population Demographics on Infectious Disease Patterns.

Mariam Medhat Saada, Hispanic Languages and Literatures. Edición y estudio del manuscrito aljamiado-morisco ms. 4963 de la Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid.

Ryan Nathaniel Roberts, NELC. Terra Terror: An Interdisciplinary Study of Earthquakes in Ancient Near Eastern Texts and the Hebrew Bible.

Tamar Safratti-Piterberg, History. Les Egyptiens de I’an VI, and the creation of the Descriptions de l’Egypte.

Emily Jane Selove, NELC. The Hikaya of Abu al-Qasim al-Baghdadi: The Comic Banquet in Greek, Latin, and Arabic.

Heba Abdel Halim Sewilam, Islamic Studies. The Jurisprudential Problems of the  Early Codification Movement in the Middle East: A Case Study of the Ottoman Mejelle and the 1949 Egyptian Civil Code.

Fiazuddin Shuyab, Islamic Studies. “Who’s Better than God to Rule?” An Inquiry into the formation of the First Islamic State (622-32 CE).

Sevan Nathaniel Yousefian, History. The Postwar Repatriation Movement of Armenians to Soviet Armenia, 1945-1948.


Wendy Noel DeSouza, History. Scholarly Mysticism and Mystical Scholars: European and Iranian Intellectuals at the Dawn of Modern Sexuality and Gender.

Ayse Taspinar, Music. Identity and the Ottoman Empire: A Musical Synthesis at the Crossroads of East and West.

Saeid Atoofi, Applied Linguistics. Emotions In the Classroom: Teachers’ and Students’ Affective Practices in a Persian Heritage Classroom in Los Angeles.

Tamar Marie Boyadjian, Comparative Literature. Bridging East and West: A Study of Crusader Jerusalem in the Literature and Chronicles of the Early Crusades.  

Michelle Huntingford Craig, Art History. Space: The Mellah of Fez, Morocco.

Thomas Henry Culhane, Urban Planning. Getting Into Hot Water Problematizing Hot Water Service Demand: The Case of Old Cairo.

Haleh Emrani, History. Marriage Customs of the Religious Communities of the Late Sasanian Empire: An Indicator of Cultural Sharing.

David Meron Gorshein, Theatre and Perfomance Studies. Bursting the Bubble: Queer Performances in the Jewish Diaspora. 

Whitney White Kazemipour, Anthropology. Revolutions in Microcosm: Migration, Meaning, and Mothering by Iranian-Americans.

Kyle Henry Keimer, NELC. The Socioeconomic Impact of Hezekiah’s Preperations for Rebellion.

Ammar Kahf, Islamic Studies. Syrian Authoritarianism: Persistence or Change.

Simon Nash Kenrick, Art History. Art, Medicine and Propaganda in Antoine-Jean Gros’ Bonaparte visiting the plague-stricken at Jaffa, 1804.

John Albert Lynch, NELC. Gilgamesh’s Ghosts: The Dead, Textual Variation, and the Mesopotamian Scribal Tradition.

Jason Sion Makhtarian, NELC. Rabbinic Portrayals of Persia: A Study of Babylonian Rabbinic Culture in its Sasanian Context.

Keelan Hall Overton, Art History. A Collector and His Portrait: Book Arts and Painting for Ibrahim ‘Adil Shah II of Bijapur (r. 1580-1627).

Leyla Ayse Ozgur Alhassen, NELC. Qur’anic Stories: God as Narrator, Revelation as Stories.

Gulian Siassi, Comparative Literature. Un(der)writing Home: The Politics and Poetics of Belonging in Modern Literatures of Iran and the Maghreb.

Tristan Guy Sturm, Geography. The Future is a Foreign Country: Landscapes of the End of the World and Christian Zionists in Israel and Palestine.

David S. Yoon, History. The Restored Jewish State and the revived Roman Empire: The Transmutation of John Nelson Darby’s Dispensationalism into Modern Christian Zionism.

Khodadad Rezakhani, History.  Empires and Microsystems: Late Antique Regional Economy in Central and West Asia, 500-750.


Madelyn Mishkin Katz, Education. Defining Leadership for the Reform Rabbinate.

Zachery Adam Lasker, Education. The Camp Counselor as Educator and Role Model for Core Jewish Values and Practices of Conservative Movement. 

Max Abrahams, Political Science. The Causes of Terrorism: A Reappraisal of the Conventional Wisdom.

Arshad Imtiaz Ali, Education. Finding Home: Formulations of Race and Nationhood among Muslim College Students in Southern California.

Carine Allaf, Education. An Exploration of Higher Graduation Rates: A Case Study of Women in Jordan.

Azzarina Basarudin, Women’s Studies. In Search of Moral Communities of Muslims: Gender Justice, Intellectual Activism and Feminist Politics. 

Brenna Reinhart Byrd, Germanic Languages. From Opfer to Gangsta: the Evolving Linguistic Representations of Turkish-Germans in the Media.

Julin Elaine Everett, French and Francophone Studies. The Homoerotics of Empire: Blanc-Noir Desire and Domination in Colonial and Postcolonial Francophone Literature.

Marian Helmy Gabra, Comparative Literature. Ethnic Entanglements: A Comparative Study of Arab American and Chicano Literatures.

William Edward Gordon II, NELC. Cultural Identity of the 25th Dynasty Rulers of Ancient Egypt in Context: Formulation, Negotiation and Expression.

Andrea Herschman, Political Science. The Politics of Oil Wealth Management: Lessons from the Caspian and Beyond.

Seth Corcoran Jameson, Comparative Literature. The Desire for History: Algerian Historical Fiction in the 1980s.

Peter Thacher Lanfer, NELC. Remembering Eden: The Reception History of Genesis 3:22-24 in Early Jewish Interpretation.

Ann E. Lucas, Ethnomusicology. Music of a Thousand Years: A New History of Persian Musical Traditions.

John McCampbell Marston, Archaeology. Evaluating Risk, Sustainability, and Decision Making in Agricultural and Land-Use Strategies at Ancient Gordian.

Susan Marie Mokhberi, History. France and Persia in the Age of Absolutism.

Therí Alyce Pickens, Comparative Literature. The Body Speaks: Interrogating the Material Body in Arab American and African American Literature and Cultural Production.

Lawrence Peter Rubin, Political Science. Why Arab States Fear Islamist Regimes: Threat Perception and Soft Power Politics.

Manija Said, Geography. Reinforcing the ‘Sovereign’ — A Requisite for Empire?: Interrogating the Geopolitics of US/NATO Intervention in Afghanistan .

Edward McCormick Schoolman, History. Civic Transformation of the Mediterranean City: Antioch and Ravenna, 300-800 CE.

Khanum Shaikh, Women’s Studies. New Expressions of Religiosity: A Transnational Study of Al-Huda International.

Zeynep Turkilmaz, History. Anxieties of Conversion: Missionaries, State and Heterodox Communities in the Late Ottoman Empire.


Ramela Grigorian Abbamontian, Art History.  Armenian-Americans: Art and Diasporic Identity in Los Angeles.

Nezar Ajaj Andary, Comparative Literature. The Consuming Fever of History: A Study of Five Urgent Flashbacks in Arabic Film and Literature.

Nurullah Ardiç, Sociology. Islam and the Politics of Secularism: The Abolition of the Caliphate (1908-1924).

Lisa A. Blaydes, Political Science. Competition without Democracy: Elections and Distributive Politics in Mubarak’s Egypt.

Robert Raymond Cargill, NELC. The Qumran Digital Model: An Argument for Archaeological Reconstruction in Virtual Reality.

Stephanie Chasin, History. Citizens of Empire: Jews in the Service of the British Empire, 1905-1926.

Jean Louise Murachanian, Art History. Léon Tutundjian: Trauma, Identity, and Modern Art in the Aftermath of Genocide.

Roger Sangburm Nam, NELC. Portrayals of Economic Exchange in the Book of Kings.

Ayman Shabana, Islamic Studies. Customary Implications in Islamic Law: the Development of the Concept of ‘urf in the Islamic Legal Tradition.

Henry Sivak, Geography. Law, Territory, and the Legal Geography of French Rule in Algeria: The Forestry Domain, 1830-1903.

Laith A. Ulaby, Ethnomusicology. Performing the Past: Sea Music in the Arab Gulf States.

Walter David Ward, History. From Provincia Arabia to Palestina Terita: The Impact of Geography, Economy, and Religion on the Sedentary and Nomadic Communities in the Later Roman Province of Third Palestine.


Visiting scholars in residence at the Center set the scene for a fertile exchange of ideas with UCLA faculty and students. Scholars from around the world visit the Center to give guest lectures and pursue research projects using the UCLA library’s rich array of Middle East resources.

Visiting Scholars 

Our staff brings a wealth of experience to our activities and programs.
Our affiliated faculty share their expertise on the Middle East and North Africa with several thousand students each year, communicate their research via hundreds of publications, and hold prominent positions in the Middle East Studies Association and other scholarly associations in their disciplines.

Affiliated Faculty

Communication Studies


Engineering: Chemical and biomolecular

Engineering: Electrical

French and Francophone Studies

Germanic Languages

Public Health

World Arts and Cultures

Center-affiliated faculty, fellows and visiting scholars publish about a dozen books a year on the Middle East in the arts, humanities, social sciences, law, public health, and foreign languages. They publish hundreds of scholarly articles and play a leading role on the editorial boards of such journals as the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES), Journal of Middle East Women's Studies (JMEWS), Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), the Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law (JINEL), and the online magazine Jadaliyya.

Recent faculty publications

Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy

Asli Ü. Bâli (Law), co-editor

Ninette of Sin Street

Lia Brozgal (French and Francophone Studies) and Sarah Abrevaya Stein (History)

The History and Archaeology of Jaffa 2

Aaron A. Burke (NELC) and Katherine S. Burke (NELC)

Being Contemporary: French Literature, Culture and Politics Today

Lia Nicole Brozgal (French and Francophone Studies), co-editor

Forget English! : Orientalisms and World Literatures

Aamir R. Mufti (Comparative Literature)

Afroeuropean Cartographies

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies), co-editor

Vers la guerre des identités. De la fracture coloniale à la révolution ultranationale

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies) co-editor

The Charlie Hebdo events and their aftermath

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies), co-editor

The Sword of Ambition: Bureaucratic Rivalry in Medieval Egypt

By 'Uthman ibn Ibrahim al-Nabulusi, 13th century. Edited and translated by Luke Yarbrough (Islamic Studies)

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatsheput's Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

Kara Cooney (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

Afghan History Through Afghan Eyes

Niles Green (History), editor

Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone

Gil Z. Hochberg (Comparative Literature)

Making Strange: Gagawaka + Postmortem

Saloni Mathur (Art History) and Miwon Kwon (Art History), co-editors

Women and the Transmission of Religious Knowledge in Islam

Asma Sayeed (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

The El-Amarna Correspondence, Volume 1

William Schniedewind (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures), editor

The Priestly Blessings in Inscription and Scripture

Jeremy Smoak (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria

Sarah Abrevaya Stein (History)

The Indian Ocean in World History

Edward Alpers (History)

Afghan Rumour Bazaar

Nushin Arbabzadah (Communications)

The Family of Abraham: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Interpretations

Carol Bakhos (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

No Touching, No Spitting, No Praying: The Museum of South Asia

Saloni Mathur (Art History), co-author

Sephardi Lives: A Documentary of History, 1700-1950

Julia Phillips Cohen (Center for Jewish Studies), and Sarah Abrevaya Stein (History), co-editors

How to Accept German Reparations

Susan Slyomovics (Anthropology)

Francophone Afropean Literatures

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies), co-editor

The Invention of Race: Scientific and Popular Representations

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies), co-editor

Against Autobiography: Albert Memmi and the Production of Theory

Lia Nicole Brozgal (French and Francophone Studies)

The Making of the Tunisian Revolution

Nouri Gana (Comparative Literature)

The Edinburgh Companion to the Arab Novel in English

Nouri Gana (Comparative Literature), editor

Global Muslims in the Age of Steam and Print, 1850-1930

James Gelvin (History), and Niles Green (History), co-editors

Afghanistan Encounters with Music and Friends

Loraine Sakata (Ethnomuiscology)

Law and Tradition in Classical Islamic Thought

Asma Sayeed (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures), co-editor

A Social History of Hebrew: From Its Origins Through the Rabbinic Period

William Schniedewind (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

World Politics in a New Era

Sixth Edition, 2013
Steven L. Spiegel (Political Science), co-author

Africa and France: Postcolonial Cultures, Migration, and Racism

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies)

Colonial Culture in France Since the Revolution

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies), co-editor

Like a Misunderstood Salvation and Other Poems by Aimé Césaire

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies), co-translator

Archaeology and Apprenticeship: Body Knowledge, Identity, and Communities of Practice

Willeke Wendrich (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

The History of the Peoples of the Eastern Desert

Hans Barnard (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures), co-editor

Writing Women and Critical Dialogues

Francoise Lionnet (Comparative Literature)

The Known and Uncertain: Creole Cosmopolitics of the Indian Ocean

Francoise Lionnet (Comparative Literature)

Ancient Iran from the Air

Ali Mousavi (NELC), co-author

A Dance of Assassins: Performing Early Colonial Hegemony in the Congo

Allen F. Roberts (World Arts and Cultures)

Aspects of History and Epic in Ancient Iran: From Gaumāta to Wahnām

M. Rahim Shayegan (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

The Peace Puzzle: America's Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011

Steven L. Spiegel (Political Science), co-author

A Companion to Comparative Literature

Ali Behdad (English), and Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies), co-editors

The History and Archaeology of Jaffa 1

Aaron A. Burke (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures), co-editor

Signifying Loss: Toward a Poetics of Narrative Mourning

Nouri Gana (Comparative Literature)

The Creolization of Theory

Francoise Lionnet (Comparative Literature), co-editor

The Migrant's Time: Rethinking Art History and Diaspora

Saloni Mathur (Art History), editor

Arsacids and Sasanians: Political Ideology in Post-Hellenistic and Late Antique Persia

M. Rahim Shayegan (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

La France noire. Trois siècles de présences

Dominic Thomas (French and Francophone Studies), co-author

We are proud of the Center's affiliated graduate students, who specialize in Middle East and North African topics across a wide range of disciplines, including Anthropology, Applied Linguistics, Archaeology, Art History, Comparative Literature, Education, Ethnomusicology, French, Gender Studies, Geography, German, History, Islamic Studies, Law,  Management, Music, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Political Science, Social Welfare, Sociology, Spanish, Theater, and Urban Planning.

UCLA graduate students with Middle East specialties are invited to join the Center's activities. To add your name to our mailing list, send an email message.

GAANN fellows

The federal government's program of Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) provides fellowships to graduate students with excellent records who plan to pursue a degree in a field designated as an area of national need. The 2015 GAANN grant to UCLA was the first ever awarded for Near Eastern area studies.


2017-18 fellows

Kaleb Herman Adney

Kaleb Herman is a PhD student in the History Department interested in the history of capitalism in the Ottoman Empire, including parts of the Balkan territories, Anatolia, and the Arab world. His research relies on the tobacco trade and the financial apparatuses used to expand cultivation as a lens to analyze broader socio-economic and cultural trends in the region. Banking, trading, and peasant labor tie the project together thematically and analytically.

Suleiman Hodali

Suleiman Hodali is a Phd student in the Department of Comparative Literature. His research is
situated at the intersections of several disciplines and fields of study, including Arabic literature
and culture, British romanticism, comparative literature, philology and translation studies,
imperial culture, and the question of secularism. His dissertation traces the emergence of the
Crusades in the circuits of translation, adaptation and exchange between Arabic, English, and
French literature and historiography, from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

Tim Hogue

Tim Hogue is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, where he specializes in the Hebrew Bible and its cultural context. His research centers on investigating the social motivations behind biblical literature. Tim’s dissertation is a new analysis of the Ten Commandments based on recent theoretical work on monumentality from the fields of archaeology, art history, and sociology. Contextualizing the biblical text within the growing corpus of Northwest Semitic monumental inscriptions, he is exploring how the biblical text adapted monumental rhetoric from the surrounding cultures to present the Ten Commandments as a material anchor for collective memory, ideology and identity formation.

Nihal Kayalı

Nihal is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology with a focus on migration and political sociology of the Middle East. She is interested in how Syrian refugees in Turkey interact with state services, including healthcare and education. Her research examines how social policies are conceived of and implemented by the state as well as refugees’ experiences accessing available services. She is particularly interested in the gendered dimensions of service access and utilization.

Zachary Mondesire

Zach is a PhD student in the Anthropology department, in the sociocultural sub-field. His research interests focus on political and economic arrangements the Nile Valley, particularly in the context of the geopolitical split between Sudan and South Sudan. He is also broadly interested in Afro-Arab racial formations, and the ideological separation of Sub-Saharan Africa from the Middle East.

Holly Robins

Holly is a PhD student in Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, with interests in Muslim social and religious history and the intersections of law and society in medieval Islam. Her research examines the theories and practices of imprisonment under Mamluk rule in Egypt and Syria, focusing on the ways in which prisons and imprisonment were experienced and thought about by various social groups.


2016-17 fellows

Wisam Alshaibi

Wisam is a UCLA doctoral student in sociology, whose research interests are comparative-historical sociology and political sociology. His work focuses on how religious and secular nationalism have affected state-formation and -reformation in Iraq. He hopes to contribute to an understanding of the difference between religion and ethnicity as principles of organization in politics. Wisam’s study will investigate the Ba’th Party Records and the Islamic Fundamentalism Collection, both located at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. 

Alessandra Amin

Alessandra is a PhD student in the Art History department, where she studies modern and contemporary Arab art with a focus on Palestine and Palestinians in exile. She is broadly interested in exploring the limitations of event-based historical narratives, questions of figuration and abstraction, and institutional links between Palestinian artists and their European counterparts, particularly in the Eastern Bloc during the latter half of the twentieth century. Her minor field is the history of photography.

Jesse Arlen

Jesse is a doctoral student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, with research interests in Late Antique and Medieval History, Literatures, Theologies, Liturgies and Manuscripts. He works primarily in Armenian and Syriac, with special attention to those branches of Christianity in their divergence from Latin and Byzantine norms, and how they interrelate and interact in Persian, Arab and Turkish milieus. He also is interested in modern Middle East Christianities and their diaspora communities.

Billy Geibel

A PhD Candidate in the Department of Education, Billy specializes in Comparative and International Studies in Education. His research interests lie at the intersection of education policy and political development in Turkey and the Middle East. Billy’s current research focuses on the role of education policy in Turkey and its impact on both the students’ political identities and the state's capacity for international and domestic public diplomacy.

Fredrick Walter Lorenz

Fredrick is a PhD student in the Department of History, with interests in the Modern Middle East, Ottoman Empire, and Ottoman Balkans. His research examines migrations and empire shaping in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Ottoman Empire. He is studying the political and social effects of the large-scale movement and resettlement of refugees from the Balkans into Anatolia and Arab provinces under Ottoman rule.

Evan Metzger

Evan is a PhD student in UCLA’s Islamic Studies Program. His research focuses on the social and religious life in the Mamluk Kingdom in Egypt and Syria. He is studying the ways in which former slaves in Egypt and Greater Syria produced and modeled new forms of religious behavior, particularly through the use of drums in religious rituals and ceremonies. The project aims to understand how a group of powerful outsiders made a lasting mark on the practice of Islam in the region.

Michael Moore

Michael is a doctoral student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, where he is investigating the history and archaeology of the Hittite empire that flourished in Turkey and northern Syria during the second millennium BCE. He has worked as a field archaeologist in the excavations at Tell Tayinat (Turkey), Athienou-Malloura (Cyprus), and Idalion (Cyprus). Michael’s dissertation examines queenship and power relations within the Hittite court. Drawing upon the rich array of texts from Hittite archives, he investigates the strategies royal women used to wield political and ideological power, and the ways in which the office of queenship was used to support and legitimize Hittite monarchs.

Nada Ramadan

Nada is a doctoral student in the Sociology Department. Her research interests include gender, development, migration, and social movements in the Middle East, specifically in Egypt.

Cameron Zargar

A PhD student in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Cameron is working with Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl in the field of Islamic law. Cameron's research pertains to the relationship between jurists and their followers. In particular, he is concerned with the role of the latter in interpreting the legal verdicts of the former.

Visiting scholars in residence at the Center set the scene for a fertile exchange of ideas with UCLA faculty and students. Scholars from around the world visit the Center to give guest lectures and pursue research projects using the UCLA library’s rich array of Middle East resources.

Visiting Scholars 

Serap Ruken Sengul currently serves as Distinguished Research Fellow through the Promise Institute for Human Rights and the Center for Near Eastern Studies. She is an anthropologist whose work focuses on gender and sexual formations of sovereignty, nationalism, kinship, violence, memory and displacement in the Kurdish borderlands of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. During her two-year fellowship at UCLA, she has introduced several innovative and interdisciplinary courses to upper level undergraduate offerings in the Departments of Anthropology and Gender Studies, including “Gender and Militarism,” “Gender, Kinship, and the State," and "Violence and Memory in the Middle East." Dr. Sengul earned her doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Mehrzad Boroujerdi is Professor of Political Science and O’Hanley Faculty Scholar at Syracuse University. He is currently a Fellow of the American Council on Education in residence at California State University, Northridge.

Dr. Boroujerdi’s research centers on intellectual and political history of modern Iran. He is the author of Iranian Intellectuals and the West: The Tormented Triumph of Nativism (1996), I Carved, Worshiped and Shattered: Essays on Iranian Politics and Identity [in Persian] (2010), and Post-Revolutionary Iran: A Handbook (2018). He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters in English and Persian, and edited Mirror for the Muslim Prince: Islam and Theory of Statecraft (2013).

Dr. Boroujerdi’s dissertation at The American University won the Foundation for Iranian Studies Best Doctoral Dissertation in 1990. He has been a postdoctoral Fellow and a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at Harvard University and University of Texas at Austin. In addition, he has served as the editor of the Modern Intellectual and Political History of the Middle East book series published by Syracuse University Press (1996-2014), the book review editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (2002-2007), and a principal investigator of the Iran Data Portal. Dr. Boroujerdi has also been a non-resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C (2005-2016), and President of the International Society for Iranian Studies (2012-2014).

Dr. Marc André is an historian and associated researcher at the Laboratoire de recherches historiques Rhône-Alpes/Lyon (LARHRA) in France. His work focuses on the Algerian migration, the Algerian war, military justice in the Metropole and traumatic memory. He recently published a book entitled Femmes dévoilées. Des Algériennes en France à l’heure de la décolonisation [Unveiled Algerian women at the time of decolonization], ENS Editions, 2016.

During his 2017 residency at the Center for Near Eastern Studies, Dr. André’s research focused on Algerian women who came to France during the decolonization process and who struggled for independence in the metropole. He also worked on a new manuscript which studies Fortress Montluc, the military prison in Lyon. This prison is at the intersection of varied memories: that of Vichy, the Holocaust and the Algerian War.

Giuseppe Acconcia is an award-winning journalist and researcher who focuses on the Middle East. He has been a Post-Doc researcher at the University of Padova, Teaching Assistant at Bocconi University, and Lecturer at Milan’s Universitá Cattolica. He received his PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research interests focus on youth and social movements, Iranian domestic politics, State and transformation in the Middle East.

During his UCLA residency, Acconcia conducted research for a book on the 2011 uprisings in Egypt. Adopting Social Movement Theories (SMT) as a basic framework, he scrutinized the role of alternative networks in mobilizing and forming a potential revolutionary movement in Egypt. He showed that during the 2011 uprisings, the Muslim Brotherhood monopolized the space of dissent, preventing the formation of common identities among the protesters.

Lorenzo Veracini is Associate Professor in History and Politics at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. His research focuses on the comparative history of colonial systems and settler colonialism. He has authored Israel and Settler Society (2006), Settler Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview (2010), and The Settler Colonial Present (2015). Lorenzo is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of the History of Settler Colonialism (2016) and Editor in Chief of Settler Colonial Studies.

During his stay at UCLA, Veracini continued working on his 'displacement as method' project: a history of the ways in which collectively displacing elsewhere has been imagined and practiced throughout modernity as an alternative to revolution. He also gave a keynote talk at the UCLA conference on settler colonial studies in honor of the work of the late Patrick Wolfe. He partnered with UCLA faculty on an edited volume of the conference, published by Verso Press.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018
UCLA Alumna wins Young Scholar Award
Dr.Shushan Karapetian, alumna and current lecturer of Armenian Studies at UCLA, received the Russ Campbell Young Scholar Award in Heritage Language Education for her extraordinary work in teaching Armenian to heritage language speakers.

Friday, June 29, 2018
Six Graduate Students Win Prestigious Awards
Awards for research in modern Arabic literature, medieval literature, art history, Levantine archaeology, Jewish studies, and Egyptology won by students in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.

Monday, June 18, 2018
Distinguished Teaching Award
History professor Sarah Abrevaya Stein has received the 2018 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. Her courses cover Jewish history; Sephardic studies; and the Yiddish and Ladino speaking diasporas.

Awards Archive...
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