Graduate Students Awards, Jobs and Post-docs

Selected Achievements, Awards, and Publications (2015-2016)

Doctoral Alumni

Katherine (Kate) Wilson (Theatre PhD, 2013) presented a talk on Lebanese-American stage comedy, the “Im Hussein” plays, in the ASTR conference, summer, 2015, and published a book review in Arabic Literature (In English), January 2016.  Starting in Summer, 2016, she will step in as the (partial) replacement of Anny Bakalian, helping to run both MA-MES and MEMEAC.

Doctoral Students

• Claire Panetta (Anthropology) was awarded a CUNY WAC At-Large Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year for her fieldwork. She also received a grant from the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) to attend their annual meeting in Milan. She will be presenting a paper at the conference entitled “The City Reconstituted: Historicized Landscapes, Architectural Legacies, and Urban Revitalization in Post-Revolution Cairo.” With Deen Sharp, she edited a volume of essays, Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings (Urban Research, New York 2016). It focuses on the urban spatial dynamics of the mass protest movements that have convulsed the Arab region since December 2010. It shifts attention away from public square, and in particular Tahrir Square in Cairo, to consider the broader urban context in which the uprisings unfolded.

Chris Rominger (History) received research grants from the American Institute for Maghribi Studies, the ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship, the Graduate Center’s Center for Jewish Studies, and the Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Amérique. His article, “Paths Not Taken: Mukhtar al-Ayari and Alternative Voices in Post-War Tunisia,” appeared in Small Nations and Colonial Peripheries in World War One (Brill, 2016).

Deen Sharp (Geography) reviewed A Suburban Revolution? An International Conference on Bringing the Fringe to the Centre of Global Urban Research and Practice for Jadaliyya. This conference, housed at York University in Toronto, Canada, aims to contribute to foundational thinking on global Suburbanisation. Sharp’s article relates this debate to the current conversation on the urban fringe in the Arab world.

Master’s Alumni

• Robert Bell (2015) joined the History and Middle Eastern Studies PhD program at New York University in Fall 2015. He received a fellowship by the American Institute of Iranian Studies to study Persian in Iran in summer 2016.

• Lynn Perkins (2014) created a public-history podcast, “The History of the Ottoman Empire” (

Master’s Students

• Ilan Benattar was the MA-MES Outstanding Student award for 2016. His thesis was entitled, “Modernity of Tradition: Avraham Shalon Yahuda on Freud’s Moses and Monothesm.” He will start in the joint PhD History and Judaic Studies at New York University in Fall 2016.


Selected Achievements, Awards, and Publications (Previous Years)

Doctoral Alumni

Aleksandra Majstorac (History 2010) became an associate member of Le Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine (Le CECMC) in Paris, France where she researches the history of modern and contemporary Japan.

Sara Pursley (History 2012) was the first student in the Middle East major in the Ph.D. Program in History. She has accepted a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Princeton Society of Fellows, starting in fall 2014, and a tenure-track position in the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies department at New York University to begin in fall 2016. She has also received a contract from Stanford University Press for “Familiar Futures: Time, Selfhood, and Sovereignty in Iraq, 1932-63,” a book based on her GC dissertation.

Doctoral Students

Andrew Alger (History) was awarded an ARC Research Praxis Award for Fall 2014 to work on “Visualizing Baghdad,” an urban history of twentieth-century Iraq. He presented “Religious Education and Revolution in Hashemite Iraq” at the MESAAS Graduate Student Conference, Columbia University (February 27, 2014); he also read a paper at the 29th Annual Middle Eastern History and Theory Conference at the University of Chicago (May 3, 2014).

• Joseph Alpar (Ethnomusicology) completed a year of fieldwork in Istanbul funded by the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) toward his dissertation, “Hazzanim, Synagogue Liturgy, and Religious Renewal in Istanbul’s Jewish Community.”

Arman Azimi (History) contributed two entries, for “Mohammad Khatami” and for “Reform: Iran,” to the forthcoming The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, 2nd Edition.

Jeffrey Culang (History) was a fellow at the Center for Jewish History in New York City in 2013-14. He was awarded a fellowship for 2014-15 with the Committee for the Study of Religion at the CUNY Graduate Center. In July 2014, he will be the managing editor of the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies,

Paul Fadoul (French) received the Randolph L. Braham Dissertation Award for 2014-15.

Nick Micinski (Political Science) was awarded a CLS scholarship to study Arabic in Tangier, Morocco for two months in summer 2014.

Rita Obeid (Psychology) is conducting research in Lebanon, Turkey and Japan on “Changing Conceptions of Autism Spectrum Disorders.” With two faculty members, she developed an online training about autism that can be used as a teaching tool.

Claire Panetta (Anthropology) received a Social Science Research Council international Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) for the 2015-2016 academic year. She also has a review of Paul Amar’s The Security Archipelago coming out in the July issue of the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. Lastly, she will be presenting a paper on Al-Azhar Park at the following conference in Portugal this summer: “REHAB 2015 – 2nd International Conference on Preservation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings and Structures.”

Chris Rominger (History) was awarded a “Bourse Marandon” from the Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Amérique (SPFFA) for research in France in summer 2015. He also presented at two conference: “Bodies in Motion: Middle East Migrations” at North Carolina State’s Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies in March 2015; and the Annual Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society, held in Binghamton, in May 2015.

Melis Sulos (History) contributed a chapter, “Performance as Politics of Westernization in the Late Ottoman World,” in Celebration, Entertainment and Theatre in the Ottoman World, edited by Suraiya Faroqhi and Arzu Ozturkmen (2014). She also presented two paper: “War, Orphans and Military Education in the Late Ottoman Empire” at Kemerburgaz University; and “Representing and Legitimizing the Revolution of 1908 via Public Stages: The Invention the Milli Facia genre,” at the 4th World Congress for Middle East Studies (2014), organized in the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

Master’s Alumni

Avishan Bodjnoud (2013) moved to a new job at the UN (New York) as Research Officer for the Policy and Best Practices section of Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Her MA in Middle Eastern studies was imperative for this position.

Jenna Daley (2014) is working as an English teacher and tutor with AMIDEAST in Rabat, Morocco since October 2014. AMIDEAST is an American non-profit that engages with and promotes inter-cultural exchange between the United States and the Middle East in the form of study abroad and English teaching programs and by hosting Fulbright scholars and teachers.

Brittany Haynes (2014) will pursue a Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University.

Ian VanderMeulen was the 2014 Outstanding Student of the Master’s Program in Middle Eastern Studies. In Fall 2014, he started a Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at New York University.

Benjamin Wildenhaus (2009) released a new LP and digital album as Ben von Wildenhaus, entitled “II.”


Master’s Students

Robert Bell presented his search on Luti Masculinity in Iranian Modernity (1785-1941), at the 7th Biennial Urban History Association Conference at the University of Pennsylvania and at the MESAAS Graduate Conference at Columbia University. He was admitted to the PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University and will start his studies in Fall 2015.

Ilan Benattar presented a paper entitled, “Toward a Reinvigorated Intellectual Genealogy of Zionism and Middle Eastern Jewry: Chayyim Nahman Bialik’s ‘Revival of the Sephardim,’” at the 2015 Graduate MESAAS Conference at Columbia University.

Marwa Janini taught Syrian refugees English in Gaziantep and Killis in southern Turkey. She was awarded the “Outstanding MA-MES Student Award” for 2015 at the pre-commencement lunch on May 27, 2015.

Justin Tessier is now employed by the Alumni Relations Office, American University of Beirut in NYC.

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