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Current Graduate Students

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Rama Alhabian

Research focus: Arabic Literature, including Arabic and Hebrew language. Also, writings on Jewish-Muslim relations in literature, writings in and about urban space, in addition to travel narrative.


  • 2003 English Language and Translation B.A. from Effat University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • 2010 English Literature with focus on East African Anglophone Postcolonial fiction M.A. from King Saud University, Riyadh
  • Two years in Purdue University as a PhD student in the Comparative Literature program

Kyle Anderson

Research Focus: Modern Middle East History.

Dissertation: working title "Egyptian Labor Corps: The Production of Logistical Space in War and Revolution, 1914-1919" 


  • 2009 B.A. from the University of Michigan with a double-major in History and Near Eastern Studies.
  • 2009-2011 Research Associate at Harvard Business School.


  • His award-winning undergraduate honors thesis focused on the relationship between Nasser's Land Reform efforts, the emerging discourse of international development, and the Bretton Woods financial regime.

Q&A article with Kyle, here.

Kirsten Darby Smith


  • Summa cum Laude from Lycoming College with a triple-major in Archaeology & Culture of the Ancient Near East, German, and Religion,
  • M.A. from UNC Charlotte in Religious Studies.  

Entitled "The Scroll of Antiochus: Identity in the Eastern Diaspora," her Master's thesis allowed her to explore issues of diaspora and identity through a text that retells the events of 1 and 2 Maccabees.  

Kiley Foster

Research Focus: Islamic Spain, and the cultural and economic history of the Medieval Islamic world.


  • BA in Economics and Arabic from the University of Oklahoma

Q&A article with Kiley, here.

Ibrahim Gemeah

Research interests:

Modern Middle East History, History of Muslim Education and production of Islamic knowledge, Islamic political thought, Islamic Studies

Master's Thesis: Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State: a comparative study of the Jihadi narratives


  • 2012 - B.A in Islamic Studies with honors from Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt
  • 2014- Pre-Masters Diploma in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt
  • 2016- M.A with distinction in Middle Eastern Studies from University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.


Fulbright Egyptian Student M.A program Award, 2014-2016


Tenure track Faculty member at Al-Azhar University, Islamic Studies department.

Raashid Goyal

Research Focus: Early Islamic history and thought, religion in late antiquity, and pre-Islamic and classical Arabic literature.

Education: BA with high distinction from the University of Michigan Dearborn in History with a minor in Linguistics.

Experience: Studied and traveled extensively in the Middle East, notably Marrakesh, Cairo, and Riyadh.

Atoor Lawandow

Research Focus: Arabic literature.

Dissertation: “Discourses of Affinity to Homeland in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-century Arabic Texts.”


  • M.A. from the University of Chicago's Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Eilis Monahan

Research Focus: Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. Her current research focuses on the development of, and resistance against, political complexity on Cyprus during the Bronze Age. Her methodological interests include geophysical remote sensing, GIS, survey and ceramics, and her research interests encompass socio-political complexity, settlement and community, and ancient colonialism.


  • BA in Classical and Near Eastern Art and Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College
  • 2010 MA in Archaeology from Cornell University.

Experience: Before returning to Cornell she spent a year as a Bilateral Exchange Fellowship student at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg. She has participated in field work in the U.S., Greece, Hungary, Turkey, and Cyprus, where she continues to work as a staff member on the excavations at Politiko-Troullia.


  • 2016 NSF Dissertation Improvement Award
  • 2016 J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board award for research in Cyprus


Andrew Simon

Andrew has recently been awarded a two year Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Dartmouth.

Research Interests: History of the Modern Middle East; Everyday Technologies; Sound Studies; Popular Culture

Dissertation: "Sounding History: Cassettes, Culture, and Everyday Life in Modern Egypt"


  • 2011 Certificate in Arabic Studies from the Center for Arabic Study Abroad
  • 2010 B.A. in Arabic, Middle East, and Islamic Studies from Duke University


  • Social Science Research Council (SSRC) International Dissertation Research Fellowship
  • American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) Doctoral Research Fellowship
  • Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) Fellowship


Cale Staley

Research Focus: Hebrew Bible, Near Eastern Archaeology, Achaemenid Persia, and the Digital Humanities including Text Analysis, Digital Mapping and 3D Modeling


  • MA in Religious Studies, a BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies and a Minor in Arabic from University of Iowa 


  • Oxford Conference Travel Grant and the Outstanding Master's Thesis Award from the University of Iowa.

Experience: He has completed fieldwork as an Assistant Area Supervisor in Tel Azekah, Israel and taught classes in Classical Mythology and 3D Archeological Modeling. 

Q&A article with Cale, here.

Graduate Alumni

For information on our recent alumni, click here.