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MemberNelly Noury-Ossia

The representation of the ”Arab” woman by franco-maghrebian and arab-american women writers and painters. The creation of an ”intersubjectivity” in franco-maghrebian and arab-american autobiographies and fictions.
The concepts of trauma, exile and non-belonging in franco-maghrebian and arab-american novels.
The representation of the Algerian war of independence in maghrebian literature.

MemberHeath Dowers

As a student of political philosophy and theory, Heath has held a long interest in the intersection between religion and politics, recognizing both medieval and early modern political theorists’ grappling with core religious precepts and how these efforts shaped their paradigms. This interest began to surface as he studied Islamic political thought within the coursework of his undergraduate studies. Noting that the Muslims placed a premium on the classical wisdom of the ancient Greeks, he desired to acquire classical languages (Latin and Greek) to further augment his studies and research. He received his master’s degree in Classics after which he taught Latin at a secondary school in Arizona. Heath returned to his academic pursuits in 2019 when he gained admission into the University of Dallas as a graduate student in the Politics Department. Within this environment, he hopes to research Medieval Islamic and Jewish political thought of the Abbasid era and these thinkers’ influence within Renaissance Italy.

MemberJesús R. Velasco

Trained as a Romanist, I am interested in all Romance Languages (especially Spanish, French, Catalan, Occitan, Portguese, and Italian), and Classical Languages (especially Latin, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew), and their cultures. My current research focus is Medieval Law. I cannot conceive any of those interests outside contemporary political and legal issues. I want to mention my interest -both scholarly, and creative- in photography.

MemberMiriam Blanco Cesteros

2020   Postdoctoral Research Fellow Talento-CM at the University Complutense of Madrid (Madrid, Spain) 2017    Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Bologna, within the ERC-Project AlchemEast “Alchemy in the Making: From ancient Babylonia via Graeco-Roman Egypt into the Byzantine, Syriac and Arabic traditions (1500 BCE – 1000 AD)” [G.A./24914] 2014   Predoctoral Research contract at the University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain) 2010   PhD Research Fellow (FPU programme) at the University of Valladolid (Valladolid, Spain [2010-2012])/University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain [2012-2014])

MemberValerie Hannon Smitherman

Performing Relationships:  Choreia, Qasida, and Community — A Cross-Cultural Perspective   The communal culture of classical Greece was fundamentally musical.  This, as many have noted, harkens back to a pre-literate society, where song and oral formulae were aids to composition, memory, and cultural preservation.  Yet, even after the Greeks developed writing, musical expression retained pride of place. Thus the Athenian confidently asserts: οὐκοῦν ὁ μὲν ἀπαίδευτος ἀχόρευτος ἡμῖν ἔσται, τὸν δὲ πεπαιδευμένον ἱκανῶς κεχορευκότα θετέον; (Plat. Laws 654a-b).   This ‘culture of musical expression’ is far more than a source of entertainment, or a basis for education (as Plato would have it).  Indeed, they are fundamentally connected to the roots of the community itself, as Damon observes in the Republic: οὐδαμοῦ γὰρ κινοῦνται μουσικῆς τρόποι ἄνευ πολιτικῶν νόμων τῶν μεγίστων  (5.424c) Not only does the medium itself represent social cohesion — paradoxically, it is also frequently used to depict stasis and social isolation.  Indeed, the very act of performing a choral song expresses and confirms the network of reciprocal social relationships by and through which communities are formed, either directly or meta-poetically.  So we see Odysseus reduced to tears by Demodocus’ song, utterly isolated in his grief, even as he is an honored guest among the Phaeacians (Od. 8.521-31) and we also see Achilles sing the tales of heroes to Patroclus, although anger isolates him from the rest of his comrades (Il. 9.189-91).   The social significance of musical expression extends beyond the creation and performance of song to the political realm, as we see in Hesiod, where the wise king is one who, through the blessing of the Muses, is able to deploy language skillfully, soothing high spirits and maintaining social order (Thg. 80-92;93-103).  The successful king, then, must also be a successful performer.   When we turn our gaze to the Arabian desert, we find that Nabati poetry, the oral poetry of the Bedouin, has served a strikingly similar function within that culture.  Indeed, the Arabs themselves consider poetry to be the essence of their language and the poetry of the desert to express the fundamental social and political structures of their society: “The people of pre-modern Arabia were ruled by eloquent persuasion rather than by outright force; therefore, the gift of poetry constituted an essential qualification for effective leadership” (Sowayan 1985: 67).   And the fundamental quality of that poetry is that it is a musical performance: “When one hears a new poem one may ask ‘wiššū h-aṭ-targ’ (‘What is this rhythm?’) or ‘wišlōn šēlitah?’ (‘How is it sung?’)”  (Sowayan 1985:158).   Nabati poetry ranges in scope from brief, direct love-poems composed for the most intimate of audiences to accounts of tribal histories and versified negotiations between rival parties.  It is not epic poetry and, yet, the nature and function of its role in Arab society, particularly that of the Najd, certainly calls the Homeric poems to mind — these are also performances outside of historical time, marked by a unique dialect, memorializing communal bonds and individual losses, all in song.   My aim, without supposing that these works are genetically related in any sense, is to compare the nature and function of these traditions, and to consider the wider role of poetry, music, and expressions of community in East and West.  It is my earnest hope that such an endeavor will both better our understanding of the ancient world we study and an often misunderstood part of the modern world we share.   Sowayan, S. A., (1985), Nabati Poetry: The Oral Poetry of Arabia (Berkeley: University of California Press). ___________________________________________________________ About me:  Classicist, philologist, eternal student of Indo-European, endlessly entertained by etymologies. Things I like: strong tea, Oum Kalthoum, re-performances of ancient drama and music Things I dislike: Fitting into boxes, filling out boxes, checking off boxes, packing boxes. Random FAQs: Where are you?  I’m nomadic, so it depends. Where do you work?  See above. Do you speak Arabic?  Not as well as I should, but I’m working on it. How do you propose to do this work without a degree in Arabic?  Very carefully.  I think my philological training has prepared me fairly well for work like this, plus, I have the support of very kind, learned colleagues helping me learn Arabic and come to grips with that textual tradition. There isn’t a lot here, where can I find out more?  Follow me on Twitter @DrVHSmitherman. Cheers!  

MemberHamish Cameron

Hamish began his study of the ancient world in Christchurch, continued it in Los Angeles, road-tripped with it to Maine via the Midwest, and has now returned with it to Wellington. Thematically, he studies movement, borderlands, networks, geography and imperialism. Geographically, he explores the Eastern Mediterranean, Southwest Asia/the Near East and Rome. Chronologically, he investigates the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Philologically, he enjoys cultural allusions and tricola. No, tetracola… Wait, I’ll come in again… Hamish received his PhD in Classics from the University of Southern California in 2014 where he wrote a dissertation examining the representation of “Mesopotamia” as a borderland in Imperial Roman geographic writing of the first four centuries CE. His monograph on the subject has now been published: Making Mesopotamia: Geography and Empire in a Romano-Iranian Borderland (Brill 2019). He received his MA from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 2006 with a thesis on the arrival of Roman power in Cilicia. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology (2011) from the USC Spatial Sciences Institute. He has participated in two survey seasons in Greece and in specialist conferences on digital geography, borderlands, networks, religion, and Cilicia. Hamish has taught classes in History and Classical Languages dealing with topics from the Bronze Age to the Information Age. He is interested in the applied methodologies of digital humanities, especially digital geography, the digital dissemination of academic information, and the pedagogy of tabletop games. He also designs boardgames and roleplaying games.

MemberAndrea Sinclair

Between 1980 -2000 I worked as a professional artist in theatre design, working in multimedia and widely varied projects, inclusive of artist in residencies, workshops, construction and design for Australian film, TV, and theatre. In 2004 I enrolled in Arabic and Archaeology at the university of Melbourne, going on to do a BA inclusive of both. Since that time I have added an MA in LBA eastern Mediterranean archaeology and PhD in New Kingdom Egyptology to my repertoire. My focus is on visual semantic and critique of art historical models for Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean iconography, particularly hybrid forms of same and iconographic exchange.

MemberTimothy B. Sailors

Timothy B. Sailors specializes in the academic study of ancient Christianity and its literature. His scholarly work has focused on topics such as the New Testament, textual criticism, the Apostolic Fathers, early Christian apocrypha, patristics, early Christian apologists, and manuscript studies. He has most recently received a grant from the Sarah J. Clackson Coptic Fund through the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, to conduct manuscript research at the Bodleian Library; been appointed a U.S. State Department–funded Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem, in order to consult and utilize manuscript collections in the Near East; and been named a Swenson Family Fellow in Eastern Christian Manuscript Studies at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) in Collegeville, Minnesota, USA.