Our Leadership

Beth Baron, Director
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Jeremy Randall, Assistant Director
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Our Advisory Board
Beth Baron
Alex Elinson
Amr Kamal
Dina Le Gall
Mandana Limbert
Jeremy Randall
Christa Salamandra
Jillian Schwedler
Jane Sugarman
Tamara Maatouk

Our Community

The MEMEAC community is made up of faculty, students, alumni and visiting scholars who have chosen to focus their research and other academic and creative activities on topics connected with the Middle East. MEMEAC provides the lists below as a resource for those looking for subject matter experts, mentors, and collaborators in these areas.

Faculty   Students   Alumni   Visiting Scholars


Faculty listed below are appointed at institutions across CUNY.

Marvin Carlson
Dina Dahbany-Miraglia, Emerita

Doctoral Students

The students listed below are pursuing their Ph.D. in one of the Graduate Center's doctoral programs.




  • Research Interests: Nationalism, Turkey, Kurdistan, Political Ecology, Social Movements, Gender and Sexuality, Violence, Affect
  • Undergraduate: BA, New York Uniersity
  • Languages: Turkish, Kurdish, German
  • Contact: nglastonbury@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Anthropology of Time and Space. Anthropology of Infrastructure. Semiotics. Iran.
  • Undergraduate: BA: University of Washington – Political Science and French
  • Other: MA: New York University – Near Eastern Studies
  • Languages: Persian, French, Arabic
  • Contact: shoushyar@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Urban Anthropology – Urban poor – Self-Built housing – Slums – Violence – Neolibralism – Labor- Space – Social movements
  • Undergraduate: Bsc, Architecture Department, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University
  • Other: MA, anthropology department, American University in Cairo
  • Languages: Arabic, English
  • Contact: okhalil@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Heteroglossia, education, immigration, North Africa, literature, literacy
  • Undergraduate: University of Washington
  • Other: MA in Education, University of Washington
  • Languages: Italian, French, Arabic, some Spanish and some Berber
  • Contact: slove@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Economic Anthropology, Labor Movements, Informal Economy, Egypt
  • Undergraduate: BA in Sociology and Middle Eastern Studies. Rutgers University
  • Other: MA from the American University in Cairo
  • Languages: Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian Spoken Arabic
  • Contact: dludovici@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Turkish-Syrian border, refugees, displacement, gender, feminist theory, rural communities, development discourse
  • Undergraduate: BA in Political Science, Vassar College
  • Other: MA in Gender and Women’s Studies in the MENA, American University in Cairo
  • Languages: Arabic, English, Turkish
  • Contact: yaseminoze@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: Post-Colonial studies, Environmentalism, Middle-East, The Israeli settlers movement
  • Undergraduate: BA in History and Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
  • Languages: Hebrew
  • Contact: amirreicheratir@yahoo.com


  • Research Interests: The Levant, labor, critical agrarian studies, migration, political economy, gender
  • Undergraduate: BA in Government, Smith College
  • Other: MA in Anthropology, Columbia University
  • Languages: Arabic, French
  • Contact: csajadian@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: cultural heritage, visual art, Egypt, borders, migration, and gender
  • Undergraduate: Dartmouth College (Middle East Studies)
  • Other: American University in Cairo (MA in Gender Studies)
  • Languages: Arabic, French
  • Contact: alex.k.schindler@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: Women, gender, labor, history, social movements in Turkey and ME
  • Undergraduate: BA, Art History and Cultural Studies, Hampshire College, MA
  • Other: MA, Sociology, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Languages: Turkish, French, German
  • Contact: ctekay@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Middle Eastern Political/Prison Literature, Diaspora literature
  • Undergraduate: Lebanese University, BA in English Literature, Master of Education in Teaching Second Languages
  • Contact: kal_hilli@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Cultural History of Palestine, Resistance Literature, Prison Literature, Poetics, Translation, Diaspora, Literary History and Theory
  • Other: MA in English (Brooklyn, CUNY) and MA in Middle Eastern Studies (GC, CUNY)
  • Languages: Turkish, Spanish


  • Research Interests: History of crime and criminology in 20th century Egypt; history of childhood; missionaries, modernity and colonialism
  • Undergraduate: B.A. in Political Science, Cairo University
  • Other: M.A. Arab Studies Georgetown University
  • Languages: Arabic, English
  • Contact: m.saied83@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: Arab-American Literature, Ameen Rihani and The Book of Khalid (1911), U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East, Ethnic Politics and Immigration in New York City (Little Syria), Historical Memory and the World Trade Center attacks
  • Undergraduate: Harvard University, BA (Government)
  • Other: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs (Syracuse University), MA (International Relations)
  • Languages: German, Portuguese, Arabic
  • Contact: tdfine@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: Late Ottoman history, Ottoman healthcare systems during WWI, Medical history, Social and political history of the Middle East
  • Undergraduate: History, American University of Beirut (AUB)
  • Other: MA in History, American University of Beirut (AUB)
  • Languages: Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, Ottoman Turkish ( reading and writing ), French (reading)
  • Contact: hkestenian@gradcenter.cuny.edu & hratch.ke@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: Modern Middle East, post-colonialism, state formation, social history, security/intelligence organizations
  • Undergraduate: US Military Academy, BS in Political Science
  • Other: MA History, University of Utah
  • Languages: Arabic
  • Contact: cj.kirkpatrick00@outlook.com


  • Research Interests: 18th and 19th century Ottoman history, history of performing arts, and gender
  • Undergraduate: Bogazici University, B.A. in History
  • Other: Bogazici University, M.A. in History.
  • Languages: Turkish, French, Ottoman Turkish
  • Contact: melissulos@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: Historical linguistics, contact linguistics, phonology, phonemic inventories, Turkic and Iranic languages
  • Undergraduate: Brooklyn College (CUNY)
  • Other: Kurmanji Teacher for Kurdish Language Study Circle (NYC)
  • Languages: English, Turkish, Kurdish
  • Contact: dbarry@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Arab Classical Music
  • Undergraduate: New York University
  • Languages: Arabic
  • Contact: insia.malik@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: Iranian Classical Music, Computational Musicology, Music Information Retrieval (MIR), Music Pattern Recognition, Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
  • Undergraduate: University of Tehran
  • Other: PhD in Mathematics, Northeastern University
  • Languages: Persian, German
  • Contact: epideh.shafiee@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: Popular Music (in Turkey), Modernism, Sound Aesthetics, Authenticity, Music and Social Engineering, Gender in the Mediterranean
  • Undergraduate: Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir
  • Other: Dokuz Eylul University, Izmir
  • Contact: onur_sonmez@hotmail.com


  • Research Interests: Comparative Politics, Political Theory, LGBTQ Studies, Gender Studies, Islam, Hate Crimes, Social Movements and Pros
  • Undergraduate: Political Science (Bogazici University)
  • Languages: Turkish, English, Spanish
  • Contact: sumru.atuk@gmail.com


  • Research Interests: International Political Economy of energy markets in the Middle East and Southeast AsiaOrganizations
  • Undergraduate: University of Maryland (History and Political Science), MA University of Chicago (Political Science)
  • Other: University of Haifa (Peace studies)
  • Languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi
  • Contact: sratner@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Comparative Politics, Political Theory, Post-Colonial Studies, Political Economy, The Kurdish Movement, Islamic Charity Organizations
  • Undergraduate: University of North Carolina, Asheville (Philosophy & Classics)
  • Other: The Graduate Center, CUNY (Middle Eastern Studies)
  • Languages: Arabic, Turkish
  • Contact: dschafer@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Population studies, aging, family, social policy, inequality, retirement, social interactions
  • Undergraduate: BA in Sociology, Galatasaray University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Other: MA in Health, Population and Social Policy, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France
  • Languages: Turkish, French
  • Contact: dbasaran_sahin@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Arab Americans, Immigration, Race and Ethnicity, Middle Eastern Politics
  • Undergraduate: University of Michigan-Dearbon
  • Languages: Arabic
  • Contact: rkaram@gradcenter.cuny.edu


  • Research Interests: Bilingual Education, Multicultural Education, Culture, Race, and Ethnicity
  • Undergraduate: Early Childhood Education & Psychological Counseling at Bogazici University
  • Other: Educational leadership and Administration, MED at Boston College
  • Languages: Kurdish, Turkish
  • Contact: demetarpacik@gmail.com


Arman Azimi

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “Petroleum, Health, and Power: The Anglo-Persian Oil Company and the Colonial Dimensions of Company Medicine in Iran, 1902–1931”
  • Contact: aazimi@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Caitlyn Bolton

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “The Spirit of Progress: Islamic Education, Development, and Modernity in Zanzibar”
  • Contact: cbolton@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Ola Galal

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “The Politics of Feminist Citizenship: Violence, Law, and Affect in Post-Revolution Tunisia”
  • Contact: ogalal@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Sara Pekow

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “Cultivation, Conflict, and Consumption: Food Systems in Syria, 1920–1946”
  • Contact: spekow@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Jeremy Randall


Douaa Sheet

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “The Politics of “Dignity” and the Tunisian Truth Commission: Keywords, Violence, Human Rights”
  • Contact: dsheet@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Claire Panetta

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “The Infrastructure of Politics: Participatory Urbanism, Professional Strategies, and the Production of the Built Environment in Post-Revolution Cairo”
  • Contact: cpanetta@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Andrew Alger

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “Building Baghdad: The Construction of Urban Space in Iraq, 1921–1963”
  • Contact: aalger@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Zeynep Oguz

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “Sedimenting Territory: A Political Geology of Oil, Earth, and Spatial Politics in Turkey”
  • Contact:  https://zeynep-oguz.com/

Mark Drury

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “Disorderly Histories: An Anthropology of Decolonization in Western Sahara”
  • Contact:  drury.mark@gmail.com

Chris Rominger

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “Mobility, Colonialism, and Political Horizons: Tunisians around the First World War, 1911-1925”
  • Contact: cchris.rominger@unf.edu

Jeffrey Culang

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “Liberal Translations: Secular Concepts, Law, and Religion in Colonial Egypt”
  • Contact: jculang@gmail.com

Paul Fadoul

  • Program: French
  • Dissertation: “How to be a French Jew: Proust, Lazare, Glissant”
  • Contact: tipol@aol.com

Yunus Doğan Telliel

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “What is the Language of Islam?: Reform, Translation, and Secularism in Turkey”
  • Contact: ydtelliel@gmail.com

Kutlughan Soyubol

  • Program:History
  • Dissertation: “The Sciences of the Soul: The Emergence of Psy-sciences and the Modern State in Turkey”
  • Contact: ksoyubol@gc.cuny.edu

Secil Yilmaz

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “Love in the Time of Syphilis: Medicine and Sex in the Ottoman Empire, 1860-1922”
  • Contact: secil.yilmaz@gmail.com

Rayya El Zein

  • Program: Theatre
  • Dissertation: “Performing el Rap el ʿArabi 2005-2015: Feeling Politics amid Neoliberal Incursions in Ramallah, Amman, and Beirut”
  • Contact: rayyaelz@gmail.com

Emily Cury

  • Program: Political Science
  • Dissertation: “Policy Advocacy and the Performance of Muslim American Identity Contact”
  • Contact: ecury@gc.cuny.edu

Kareem Rabie

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “Palestine is Throwing a Party and the Whole World is Invited: Privatization and State Building in the Contemporary West Bank”
  • Contact:  kareem.rabie@compas.ox.ac.uk

Ana Vinea

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “Contemporary Egyptian Therapeutic Landscapes Between Qur’anic Healing and Psychiatry”
  • Contact: avinea@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Ozan Aksoy

  • Program: Ethnomusicology
  • Dissertation: “The Music and Multiple Identities of Kurdish Alevis from Turkey in Germany”
  • Contact: ozanaksoy@gmail.com

Kinan Azmeh

  • Program: Music
  • Dissertation: “Arab Music Vocabulary in Syrian Contemporary Clarinet Chamber Works”
  • Contact:kinanazmeh@yahoo.com

Ceren Ozgul

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “From Muslim Citizen to Christian Minority: Tolerance, Secularism, and Armenian Return Conversions in Turkey”
  • Contact: ceren.ozgul@gmail.com

Aida Izadpanah Jahromi

  • Program: Psychology
  • Dissertation: “An Analysis of Multi-Media Representations of Children’s Experience of War by Humanitarian Organizations”
  • Contact: aidaizadpanah@yahoo.com

Katherine Wilson

  • Program: Theatre
  • Dissertation: “The Social Lives of Playscripts: Nick of the Woods from Inkwell to Internet”
  • Contact: katecwilson@yahoo.com

Raja Abillama

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “The Marital State: Personal Status Laws, Discourses of Reform and Secularity in Lebanon”
  • Contact: arabillama@gmail.com

Nada Moumtaz

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “Modernizing Charity, Remaking Islamic Law”
  • Contact: moumtaz.1@osu.edu

Mitra Rastegar


  • Program: Sociology

  • Dissertation: “Articulated Values, Affecting Figures: Liberal Tolerance and the Racialization of Muslims/Arabs”
  • Contact: Mitraellen@gmail.com

Shea McManus

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “The Politics of Transition: Time, History and Justice in Postwar Lebanon”
  • Contact: Shea_Mcmanus@ncsu.edu

Sara Pursley

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “A Race Against Time: Governing Femininity and Reproducing the Future in Revolutionary Iraq, 1945-63”
  • Contact: spursley@nyu.edu

Mehmet Kucukozer

  • Program: Sociology
  • Dissertation: “Peasant Rebellions in the Age of Globalization: The EZLN in Mexico and the PKK in Turkey”
  • Contact: mkucukozer@hotmail.com

Cemal Yetkiner

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “American Missionaries, Armenian Community, and the Making of Proantism in the Ottoman Empire, 1820-1860”
  • Contact: yetkinercemal@hotmail.com

Aleksandra Majstorac-Kobiljski

  • Program: History
  • Dissertation: “Learning to Be Modern: American Missionary Colleges in Beirut and Kyoto 1860-1920”
  • Contact: aleksandra.kobiljski@ehess.fr

Reina Arakji

  • Program: Busines
  • Dissertation: “Designing Social Production Models for Producer-Consumer Collaboration and Innovation in Digital Social Spaces”
  • Contact: arakjir@newschool.edu

Dalia Basiouny

  • Program: Theatre
  • Dissertation: “The Powerful Voice of Women Dramatists in the Arab American Theatre”
  • Contact: Daliadr@gmail.com

Christine Hegel-Cantarella

  • Program: Anthropology
  • Dissertation: “Breach of Trust: Customary/Commercial Documents and Practices of Private Law in an Egyptian Port”
  • Contact: Christinehegel@gmail.com

Mayida Zaal

  • Program: Urban Education
  • Dissertation: “Neglected in their Transitions: Second Generation Muslim Youth Search for Support in a Context of Islamaphobia”
  • Contact: zaalm@mail.montclair.edu

Zeynep Turan

  • Program: Environmental Psychology   
  • Dissertation: “Object of Legacy: Material Objects of Displaced People”
  • Contact: zeynept7@gmail.com

Alessandra Maria Ciucci

  • Program: Music
  • Dissertation: “Songs of Honor, Voices of Shame: The Aita and the Moroccan Shikhat”
  • Contact: amc25@columbia.edu

Visiting Scholars

Dilan Okcuoglu, Ph.D.
Visiting Research Fellow, 2022-23

Maria Frederika Malmström, Ph.D.
Visiting Research Scholar, 2019-23

Nahid Mozaffari, Ph.D.
Visiting Research Scholar, 2019-20

Jeffrey Culang, Ph.D.
Visiting Research Scholar, 2017-18

Rola El Husseini, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor

Dr. Sonja Hegasy (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin)
Fulbright Fellow, Spring 2016

Shahla Naimi (Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement, Geneva)
Research Fellow, Spring 2016

Ozgen Felek, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Ozan Aksoy, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Nijmeh Hajjar
Visiting Scholar

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