MemberCeren Ozpinar

Dr Ceren Özpınar is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton, History of Art and Design Programme. She was previously a British Academy Newton International Fellow at the University of Sussex (2015-17) and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Leeds (2013-14). She was awarded her PhD in History of Art from Istanbul Technical University in 2015. Dr Özpınar’s research focuses on contemporary art, art historiography, politics of exhibitions, and feminist art and art histories since 1960 with a special interest in Turkey and the Middle East. Her first monograph The Art Historiography in Turkey (1970–2010) was published in 2016 by Tarih Vakfi in Istanbul, and the next, titled Politics of Writing Art Histories: Narratives of Contemporary Art, Feminism and Women Artists from Turkey, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. Dr Özpınar co-edited with Mary Kelly (née Healy) the volume titled Under the Skin: Feminist Art and Art Histories from the Middle East and North Africa Today published by The British Academy and Oxford University Press in 2020. Her articles appeared in journals including Art & The Public Sphere, the Art Journal and Art in Translation. 

MemberAdele Curness

My research interests lie in the textual and material culture of Byzantine and Norman Italy, particularly relating to questions of community structure and ethnic and religious identity on the imperial frontier with Islamic North Africa. My thesis focuses especially on synthesising the Arabic sources for Byzantine Italy with their Greek and Latin counterparts, and I aim to show that, through relationships between Italo-Greek Christians and different religious and ethnic communities, the westernmost Byzantine province of Calabria was deeply connected to the Fatimid world of North and sub-Saharan Africa, certainly more so than its connection to the imperial centre at Constantinople. In this vein, my MPhil thesis analysed the construction of authority in Calabrian hagiographic texts and Arabic documents from Tunisia, observing the ways in which the highly stylised portrayal of the ‘holy man’ revealed tensions in local society between Orthodoxy, loyalty to the imperial government, and the attractions of the Islamic world. My secondary interests are the reception and portrayal of the far south of Italy in modern Italian cultural discourse and the life of Matilda of Canossa. I am interested more broadly in Byzantine and Early Medieval history, hagiography, historical geography, numismatics, and cultural history. I am always keen to debate comparative questions on the history of religious pluralism and identity in frontier societies. Outside of my academic research, I am determined to improve the accessibility of Byzantine Studies to students and lay-readers alike. I am passionate about the translation of foreign-language sources into English, and work on this myself, and about challenging the underlying Eurocentric assumptions in medieval studies that lead to Byzantine history being relegated from medieval curricula. I would be delighted to be contacted by western medievalists wishing to work collaboratively on this matter. I am the president of the Oxford University Byzantine Society.

MemberAlice Leplongeon

My research focuses on climate change and human dispersals in the past and how they may have impacted human technical behaviours. In particular it focuses on eastern Africa, north-eastern Africa and the Levant during the last 50,000 years. It aims to highlight patterns of change or persistence in the archaeological record, and what it may mean in terms of human adaptation to a changing environment or contacts or isolations of populations.

MemberHolger Szesnat

Theologian. Born and raised in Germany. Lived, worked and learned in South Africa (1987–1998), England (2001–2009) and Fiji (1998–2001; and again from 2010 to mid-2021). Worked as a lecturer at the University of Natal [Pietermaritzburg, South Africa] (later: KwaZulu-Natal); University of the North [Mankweng, South Africa] (later: University of Limpopo); Eastern Region Ministry Course and Cambridge Theological Federation [Cambridge, UK]; Pacific Theological College [Suva, Fji]. Hoping to make my way to Papua New Guinea later in 2021 to take up a post as lecturer at the Senior-Flierl-Seminary, Logaweng, Morobe Province.

MemberPatricia Cummins

  Dr. Patricia W. Cummins (Virginia Commonwealth University) is President of the Africa Business and Entrepreneurship Research Society. An expert in Business French and language for special purposes, she teaches interdisciplinary courses on French West Africa, the European Union, intercultural communication, and language and identity.  She hosts workshops for U.S. language teachers, organizes American Language and Civilization Workshops for international teachers and learners of English, and solicits public and private funding for grants and contracts, most recently in Africa. Her grants and contracts often fund other VCU faculty and students as well as those at other institutions. As Chair of the Richmond Sister Cities Commission 2012-17, she encouraged economic development and international collaboration among higher education institutions as well as joint sponsorship of the award-winning 2013 Women, War & Peace in Africa conference and the 2017 Africa Business Conference.  She has published 4 books and over 50 articles, and her workshops on language for business and professional purposes and on intercultural communication were delivered in settings throughout Europe and North America, as well as in West Africa, China, Japan, India, and Iran.  In 2017 she co-hosted the bilingual Eighth Africa Business Conference at VCU where representatives from institutions in Africa, Canada, Europe, and the United States were in attendance. The American Association of Teachers of French 2018 book-length overview of the K-16 educational system in France and the French-speaking world includes her chapter on higher education reform and its future directions at the beginning of the Macron presidency. In 2019 the Modern Language Association published an article on the role of languages and cultures in sustainable development. In 2020 the Council of European Studies is publishing her article on the future of European Studies and higher education reform in Africa. She gives seminars on intercultural communication in Africa and Europe and promotes the development of bilingual and multicultural campuses as well as public private partnership initiatives involving higher education reform and entrepreneurship.  

MemberAmanda Hannoosh Steinberg


“A Thousand and One Translations.” Public Books, 4 August 2018,

“A Guide to Online Visual Resources in Middle East, North Africa, and Islamic Studies.” HAZINE Blog. 22 August 2019,….

I am the Visual Resources Librarian for Islamic Art and Architecture with the Harvard Fine Arts Library. I am also a scholar of medieval Arabic popular literature. My dissertation (completed 2018) is entitled, “Wives, Witches, and Warriors: Women in Medieval Arabic Epic.”

MemberChristopher S. Rose

Christopher S. Rose is a social historian of medicine, focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth century Middle East. He earned his doctorate in History from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 2019. He is currently an independent scholar based in Austin, Texas. He has taught as a contingent faculty member for six semesters in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Saint Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. He has also taught for the Departments of History and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas. He is a postdoctoral fellow with the Institute for Historical Studies at UT for the 2019-20 year. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, he acquired nearly two decades of administrative experience at the University of Texas. His monograph project, tentatively titled Home Front Egypt: Famine, Disease, and Death during the Great War, describes how price control systems intended to ensure an adequate supply of food for the Egyptian population during the World War I (1914-1918) were neutralized by requisitions of labor and foodstuffs, a situation that resulted in inflation, food shortages, and starvation among civilians. Using demographic and statistical data, he argues that malnutrition facilitated the rapid spread of disease throughout the country, killing more people than military action. The ‘Spanish’ influenza pandemic alone claimed over 150,000 lives — over one percent of Egypt’s population — in the last two months of 1918 (an article about the pandemic in Egypt is forthcoming in the Journal of World History). He is exploring the broader global colonial experience of the First World War for a second project. His other research interests include the formative period of Islam from Muhammad until the rise of the Umayyads; the history and development of Fustat/Cairo; Islamic North Africa and Spain (al-Andalus); and the spread of cultural traits outward from the Middle East through trade networks (Silk Route, Mediterranean, Atlantic). Dr. Rose is active as a public historian. He is a cohost of the New Books in Middle Eastern Studies channel, part of the New Books podcast network. He was also a founding co-host of the podcast 15 Minute History for eight years, and is currently immediate past-president (2018 – 2022) of the Middle East Outreach Council. Chris also has significant experience in educator training, particularly working with world history and world geography educators. He has conducted numerous professional development sessions for educators, co-written several curriculum units for K-12 classrooms, and escorted numerous groups of educators to the Middle East.