Our Board of Advisors
Ali Abdullatif Ahmida
Ali Abdullatif Ahmida is Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of New England, where he specializes in political theory, comparative politics, and the historical sociology of power, agency, and anti-colonial resistance in North Africa, particularly modern Libya. He has written widely on issues of politics, culture, and social history in North Africa, including The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonialization and Resistance, Forgotten Voices: Power and Agency in Colonial and Postcolonial Libya, and Post-Orientalism: Critical Reviews in North African Social and Cultural History, in addition to editing two critical books on the Maghreb, Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in the Maghrib: History, Culture and Politics and Bridges Across the Sahara: Social, Economic and Cultural Impact of the Trans-Sahara Trade during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Professor Ahmida has also published major scholarly articles in a number of academic journals, including Critique, Arab Future, and the International Journal of Islamic and Arabic Studies, and has contributed chapters to books on the African state, identity and alienation, class and state formation in modern Libya. Professor Ahmida lectures widely in a variety of U.S., Canadian, European, and African universities and colleges, and has received numerous academic grants and awards, including the University of New England’s Ludcke Chair prize for outstanding academic accomplishments in 2011.
Abdullahi An-Na’im is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law at Emory University in Atlanta. Professor An-Na’im has held faculty positions at numerous institutions including UCLA, Uppsala University of Sweden, the University of Warwick in the UK, and the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He has also served as the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch-Africa. Professor An-Na`im is the author of Islam and the Secular State: Negotiating the Future of Shari`a, African Constitutionalism and the Role of Islam, Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil liberties, Human Rights and International Law, and has edited several publications, including Human Rights under African Constitutions, Islamic Family Law in a Changing World: A Global Resource Book, Cultural Transformation and Human Rights in Africa, and Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Quest for Consensus. In addition to these, Professor An-Na’im has also published more than sixty articles and book chapters on human rights, constitutionalism, Islamic law, and politics.
Asef Bayat is Professor of Sociology and Middle East Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to this, Professor Bayat taught sociology and Middle East studies at the American University in Cairo for 16 years, before joining the Leiden University to serve (between 2003-2010) as the director of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM), and the Chair of Society and Culture of the Modern Middle East. Professor Bayat’s work focuses on social movements and non-movements, urban space and politics, religion, political and everyday life, Islam and the Modern World, international development, and Middle East Studies. He has published numerous works relating to the region, including Workers and Revolution in Iran, Work, Politics and Power, Street Politics, Making Islam Democratic: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn, Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East, and Being Young and Muslim (edited with Linda Herrera). Professor Bayat has held visiting positions at the University of California-Berkeley, Columbia University, and the University of Oxford. He has also served on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Development and Change, ISIM Review, Middle East Report, Middle East Critique, Eutopia, and Cairo Papers in Social Science.
Joel Beinin is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University where he teaches courses on Middle East history. Professor Beinin’s research and writing focus on workers, peasants, and minorities in the modern Middle East and on Israel, Palestine, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. He has written or edited numerous books, including Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East, The Struggle for Sovereignty: Palestine and Israel, 1993-2005 (co-edited with Rebecca Stein), Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa (co-edited with Frederic Vairel), and The Struggle for Workers Rights in Egypt. His articles have been published in leading scholarly journals, as well as The Nation, Middle East Report, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Jose Mercury News, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Jordan Times, Asia Times, and Le Monde Diplomatique. Prof. Beinin has appeared on Al-Jazeera TV, BBC radio, NPR, and many other TV and radio programs throughout North America, and in France, Egypt, Singapore, and Australia, and has given frequent interviews to the global print media. In 2002, he served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.
Bill Berkeley is a veteran reporter and journalism professor, who has published extensively on human rights and other issues relating to Africa and the Middle East. Professor Berkeley was formerly a correspondent for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic, and the Washington Post, as well as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and its School of International and Public Affairs and a visiting journalism professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Professor Berkeley is the author of numerous books, reports, and scholarly and journalistic articles, including The Graves Are Not Yet Full: Race, Tribe, and Power in the Heart of Africa, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2001. Professor Berkeley is currently at work on a book about the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1981, supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship among others.
Hamid Dabashi is the Hagop Kervokian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. An internationally recognized cultural critic and award-winning author, Professor Dabashi has written 20 books, edited 4, and contributed to chapters in many more. He has also authored over 100 essays, articles, and book reviews in major scholarly and peer reviewed journals on subjects ranging from Iranian Studies, medieval and modern Islam, comparative literature, world cinema, and the philosophy of art. Professor Dabashi is also a public speaker around the globe, a current affairs essayist, and founder of Dreams of a Nation, a Palestinian Film Project dedicated to preserving and safeguarding Palestinian Cinema.
Farideh Farhi is an Independent Scholar and Affiliate Graduate Faculty at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa where she was an associate professor until 1993. Professor Farhi has also taught comparative politics at the University of Colorado, Boulder and several universities in Iran, including the University of Tehran and Shahid Beheshti University. Her publications include States and Urban-Based Revolutions: Iran and Nicaragua, as well as numerous articles and book chapters on comparative analysis of revolutions and Iranian politics. In the 1990s, Professor Farhi lived in Tehran where, among other things, she served as a Research Associate and English Editor at the Institute for Political and International Studies. She has also served as a consultant to the World Bank and the International Crisis Group and most recently was a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Leila Farsakh is currently assistant professor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is the author of Palestinian Labor Migration to Israel: Labour, Land and Occupation and editor of Commemorating the Naksa, Evoking the Nakba (Electronic Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Spring 2008). Professor Farsakh has published on questions related to Palestinian labor flows, the Oslo Process, and international migration in a wide range of journals, including the Middle East Journal, the European Journal of Development Research, Journal of Palestine Studies, and Le Monde Diplomatique. In 2001, Professor Farsakh won the Peace and Justice Award from the Cambridge Peace Commission in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has worked with a number of international organizations, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris and the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute in Ramallah. Between 2003 and 2004, Professor Farsakh undertook a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Since 2008, Professor Farsakh has been a senior research fellow at the Center for Development Studies at Birzeit University in the West Bank.
Joshua Landis is Associate Professor of the Modern Middle East at the University of Oklahoma, where he also serves as Director of the Center for Middle East Studies. He authors “SyriaComment.com,” a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 50,000 readers a month and that is widely read by officials in Washington, Europe, and Syria. Dr. Landis consults frequently in Washington and Europe and has spoken at the Brookings Institute, the United States Institute of Peace, the Middle East Institute, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a frequent analyst on TV and radio, appearing on PBS’ Lehrer News Hour, the Charlie Rose Show, CNN, NPR, BBC, and is quoted regularly in leading newspapers. His recent articles have covered the Syrian stock market, economic reform, Islamic education, opposition movements, and the Middle East Peace Process. His book, “Syria’s Democratic Experiment”, is forthcoming from Palgrave-Macmillan.
Mehrangiz Kar is an Iranian lawyer and human rights activist. While in Iran, Ms. Kar had an active human and civil rights practice, encompassing a variety of cases from adultery and divorce to matters involving allegations of abuse against Iranian officials. After attending a conference on Iranian politics in Germany in 2000, Ms. Kar was arrested by Iranian authorities, along with sixteen other Iranian intellectuals and journalists. For her participation in this event, Ms. Kar was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Released on a temporary basis in 2001, she traveled to the United States where she is currently based. In 2002, Ms. Kar was awarded the Ludovic Trarieux Prize in recognition of her life’s work and in 2004 was honored by Human Rights First. Ms. Kar has served as a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University, in addition to holding fellowships at the National Endowment for Democracy, the Woodrow Wilson Center, American University, the University of Virginia, Columbia University, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Ms. Kar has also published fifteen books and numerous articles in Farsi and English.
Timothy Mitchell is currently a professor in the Department of Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in the political economy of the Middle East, the political role of economics and other forms of expert knowledge, the politics of large-scale technical systems, and the place of colonialism in the making of modernity. Prior to joining Columbia, Professor Mitchell taught at New York University, where he served as Director of the Center for Near Eastern Studies. Professor Mitchell has written extensively on the Middle East, including the influential books Colonising Egypt and Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity. He has served on the editorial committees of the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, the American Political Science Review,Middle East Report(where he has also been chair of the editorial committee), Social Text, Society and Space, the Journal of Historical Sociology, the Journal of Cultural Economy, and Development and Change. Professor Mitchell has been invited to lecture at most leading research universities in the United States, and at universities and academic conferences in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. Several of his writings have been translated and published in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, and Turkish.
Ilan Pappe is currently a fellow in the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK, director of the University’s European Center for Palestine Studies and a co-director of the Exeter Center for Ethno-Political Studies. Previously, Professor Pappe was the academic head and founder of the Institute for Peace Studies in Givat Haviva, Israel and the Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa, Israel. Professor Pappe has written extensively on the 1948 Nakbah, the modern Middle East, multiculturalism, and historiography. Amongst his publications are Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, The Modern History of Palestine: One Land Two Peoples, and The Modern Middle East.
Nahid Siamdoust is a freelance journalist for Time magazine, for which she also covered Iranian politics and culture until 2005. From 2006-2007, she was a correspondent and producer for the English-language channel of Al Jazeera in Doha, Qatar. During Iran’s June 2009 Presidential elections, Ms. Siamdoust provided on-the-ground reportage for Time on the disputed election results and ensuing street demonstrations. Currently based in Beirut, Lebanon, Ms. Siamdoust is a doctoral candidate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford.
Jenny White is associate professor of anthropology at Boston University, former president of the Turkish Studies Association and of the American Anthropological Association – Middle East Section, and sits on the board of the Institute of Turkish Studies. She is author of Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics (Winner of the Douglass Prize for best book in Europeanist anthropology) and Money Makes Us Relatives: Women’s Labor in Urban Turkey. She has been following events in Turkey since the mid-1970s and has authored numerous articles about the country. Professor White also lectures internationally on topics ranging from political Islam and civil society to ethnic identity and gender issues and writes the Kamil Pasha blog on Turkish society and politics. She has received grants and fellowships from, among others, the Social Science Research Council, the MacArthur Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and Fulbright-Hays. Professor White is currently writing a book on contemporary Turkish nationalism and Islam. She also has written three novels set in nineteenth-century Istanbul, The Sultan’s Seal, The Abyssinian Proof, and The Winter Thief. The Sultan’s Seal has appeared in fourteen languages and was shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award.