Recent PhDs in Middle East and North Africa Studies

Graduate Students

These students have completed Ph.D.s in Middle East studies at UCLA, in a wide range of departments spanning the humanities, social sciences, and professional schools.

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.