Arab Jewish Texts—Conference Participants

The following individuals are participants in the "What are Arab-Jewish Texts?" 2014 winter conference, organized by Orit Bashkin (University of Chicago) and Walid Ahmad Saleh (University of Toronto). 

Please click on participants' names below to view individual bios.

Orit Bashkin got her Ph.D. from Princeton University (2004) and her BA (1995) and MA (1999) from Tel Aviv University. Her publications include 25 book chapters and articles on the history of Arab-Jews in Iraq, on Iraqi history and on Arabic literature. She has also edited a book Sculpturing Culture in Egypt [le-fasel tarbut be-mitzrayim] with Israel Gershoni and Liat Kozma, which included translations into Hebrew of seminal works by Egyptian intellectuals. She is the author of the following books: The Other Iraq – Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq, Stanford University Press, 2009 [Paperback, 2010], New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq [Stanford University Press, 2012]. 

Ross Brann studied at the University of California, Berkeley, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, New York University, and the American University in Cairo. He has taught at Cornell since 1986 and served four terms and seventeen years as Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Brann is the author of The Compunctious Poet: Cultural Ambiguity and Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991) and Power in the Portrayal: Representations of Muslims and Jews in Islamic Spain (Princeton University Press, 2002). He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies of the University of Pennsylvania. Brann is also the editor of four volumes and author of many essays on the intersection of medieval Jewish and Islamic culture. He is currently working on Andalusi Moorings: Al-Andalus and Sefarad as Cultural Tropes (for the University of Pennsylvania Press). Ross served as one of the Cornell faculty members responsible for conceiving the West Campus House System as well as founding Alice Cook House Professor-Dean from 2004-2010. In 1996, he received the Stephen and Margery Russell Award for Distinguished Teaching from the College of Arts and Sciences and in 2007 he was named Stephen H. Weiss Presdiential Fellow.

Historian by training and an ethnographer, Hillel Cohen wrote extensively on different aspects of the Zionist-Arab encounter from late Ottoman period to present. Among his books: Army of Shadows: Palestinian collaboration with Zionism 1917-1948 and Good Arabs: Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs. In his last book - Tarpat/1929 year Zero of the Arab-Jewish Conflict in Palestine (2013, Hebrew) deals extensively in the transformation in the sets of loyalties of the Arab-Jews in Eretz Yisrael following the rise of Zionism. 

Jonathan Gribetz is an assistant professor of Jewish Studies and History at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where he teaches Jewish and Middle Eastern history.  His first book, Defining Neighbors: Religion, Race, and the Early Zionist-Arab Encounter, will be published this summer by Princeton University Press.

Hanan Harif is a “Warburg” fellow at the Mandel institute of Jewish studies in the HU, and a “Rachel Yana’it Ben-Zvi” fellow at the Yad Ben-Zvi Institute, for the academic year of 2013-2014. Recently he is submitting his Ph.D. dissertation, titled “The Revival of the East, Pan-Semitism and Pan-Asianism within Zionist Discourse” (written under the supervision of prof. Israel Bartal and Prof. Steven Aschheim).

Hanan studies the attitudes of European Jewish Intellectuals and writers towards the Orient during 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the role and impact of the tendency towards the “East” within Jewish nationalism and modern Jewish Identity.

Benjamin Hary is Professor of Hebrew, Arabic, and Linguistics and the Chair of the Program in Linguistics at Emory University. Hary is the author of Multiglossia in Judeo-Arabic (1992), Translating Religion (2009), Daily Life in Israel (2012, with R. Adler) and Sacred Texts in Judeo-Arabic (forthcoming). He is also the editor and co-editor of Judaism and Islam (2000), Corpus Linguistics and Modern Hebrew (2003), and Esoteric and Exoteric Aspects in Judeo-Arabic Culture in 2006. He also published over 50 articles and book reviews on Judeo-Arabic, as well as Arabic and Hebrew linguistics, and has lectured widely in Europe, Egypt,  Israel, and North America. His research interests include Jewish languages in general and Judeo-Arabic in particular, the politics of Arabic language use in Israel and Israeli society, corpus linguistics, dialectology, and sociolinguistics. He has recently focused his research on issues such as why and how Jews (and for that matter, Christians and Muslims as well) speak and write differently from people who are not Jews (or Christians and Muslims), creating the notion of Religiolinguistics.

Galit Hasan-Rokem is the Max and Margarethe Grunwald Professor of Folklore emerita at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at the Department of Hebrew Literature and the Graduate Program for Folklore and Folk Culture. From 2001 to 2004 she served as head of the Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University, and from 1998 to 2005 as president of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research. Her scholarly works include Web of Life: Folklore and Midrash in Rabbinic Literature and Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity. She was co-editor, with Shirley Kaufman and Tamar Hess, of the anthology The Defiant Muse: Hebrew Feminist Poems from Antiquity to the Present and co-edited A Companion to Folklore with Regina D. Bendix. She has also published several volumes of poetry.

As of September 2013, Uri Horesh is Lecturer in Arabic and Language Coordinator at the newly formed Program in Middle East and North African Studies at Northwestern University. He has just submitted his PhD thesis in sociolinguistics entitled “Phonological outcomes of language contact in the Palestinian Arabic dialect of Jaffa” to the University of Essex. Prior to that he was Director of the Arabic Language Program at Franklin & Marshall College and taught at the University of Texas at Austin and Georgetown University. He specializes in Semitic languages, particularly Arabic and Hebrew, and contact between them in Palestine, and other matters pertaining to Arabic dialectology and sociolinguistics.

Martin Jacobs is Associate Professor of Rabbinic Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches in the Department of Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. Following his PhD at the Free University of Berlin, Jacobs served as visiting lecturer at the University of Jordan (1998-1999). Later he was awarded fellowships at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1999-2001), the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (2003), and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (2001-2002, and 2011-2012). Much of his research focuses on Jewish encounters—real as well as purely literary—with medieval and early modern Islam, Muslims, and Islamicate culture. His most recent books are Islamische Geschichte in jüdischen Chroniken: Hebräische Historiographie des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004) and Reorienting the East: Jewish Travelers to the Medieval Muslim World (to be published by University of Pennsylvania Press in the summer of 2014).

Roxani Eleni Margariti, associate professor at the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Emory University, received her BA in Western Asiatic Archaeology from University College of London, MA in Nautical Archaeology from Texas A&M University, and PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. Her research interests include Middle Eastern social and economic history, maritime history and archaeology, material culture and urban studies. Her first book, entitled Aden and the Indian Ocean Trade: 150 Years in the Life of a Medieval Arabian Port (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2007) is a study of urban topography and commercial institutions at the Yemeni port from the 11th to the 13th century.  Her current research focuses on islands, insularity and the biography of the Dahlak archipelago in the Southern Red Sea through medieval and early modern times.  She is also working on the social history of the Fethiye Cami (Conquest Mosque) in the Roman Agora in Athens.

Chana Morgenstern is a writer, translator and doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at Brown University and holds an MFA in fiction from Bard College.  Her dissertation examines the literary and cultural journals of Israeli and Palestinian Communist writers, and their impact on the formation of literatures of resistance in Arabic and Hebrew from the 1950's-1980's.  She recently published a series on Israeli and Palestinian protest literature for Words without Borders magazine.

Walid Saleh was born in Colombia to immigrant Lebanese parents, who soon returned the family to the Middle East so the children would learn Arabic. He grew up in Lebanon during the ’70s and ’80s. Dr. Saleh’s undergraduate degree was at the American University of Beirut, where he studied Arabic literature and language. His interest in these two topics still animates his research, and he is a close follower of modern Arabic poetry. In addition to his doctoral studies at Yale University in Islamic Studies, where he studied the Qur’an and its exegesis in medieval Islamic Civilization, Dr. Saleh has also studied at Hamburg University. His first teaching appointment was at Middlebury College. He had fellowships from the NEH, the American Research Center in Cairo, and the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He was also awarded a three-year fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Zainab Saleh is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Haverford. Zainab was the 2011-2013 Mellon Post-Doc Fellow at the John B. Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities at Haverford College. She received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2011. Zainab's research examines the politicization of sectarian and ethnic identities among Iraqis in London, and the reconfiguration of the past after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Zainab's publications include "Iraq and Its Tahrir Square" in The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings, "On Iraqi Nationality: Law, Citizenship, and Exclusion" in Arab Studies Journal, and "Beating the Drums of Orientalism" in Sightings. Currently, Zainab is working on a book manuscript entitled Vanished Returns: Memory, Sectarianism & Exile among Iraqis in the United Kingdom.

Mati Shemoelof is a Poet, Author, Editor, and Journalist. His diverse writing includes poetry (5 poetry books), plays, and prose. Shemoelof’s works have won significant recognition and prizes and have been translated to six languages. His next book will be published by Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir, the leading publishing company in Israel, where he has recently signed a publishing contract for a short stories book to be edited by Professor Yigal Schwartz. As an editor, Shemoelof edited a vast variety of magazines and papers, most of which deal with poetry and culture.  He was the founder of Guerrilla Culture Movement and Poet’s Union. 

Deborah Starr is Associate Professor of Modern Arabic and Hebrew Literature and Film in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of Remembering Cosmopolitan Egypt: Literature, Culture, and Empire (Routledge, 2009). She is also the co-editor, with Sasson Somekh, of Mongrels or Marvels: The Levantine Writings of Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff (Stanford University Press, 2011). She is currently writing a book about the films of Egyptian-Jewish filmmaker Togo Mizrahi. 

Having graduated in 2007 with an M. Phil. in Arabic Language and Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ronny Vollandt completed a Ph.D. in Semitic Philology at the University of Cambridge in 2011. Ronny is a senior research fellow at the Research Unit Intellectual History of the Islamicate World. He held fellowships at the Centro "Cardinal Bea" per gli Studi Giudaici, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, Rome, as well as the Oxford Centre of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, University of Oxford; Section Hébraïque, Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes, CNRS, Paris; Zukunftsphilologie, Forum Transregionale Studien, and The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. His research focuses on the Arabic versions of the Bible and biblical exegesis in the Arabic language, more broadly, medieval Christian- and Judaeo-Arabic literature. Ronny Vollandt is at present working on a monograph on Saadiah Gaon’s Judaeo-Arabic Pentateuch translation and intends to revise his Ph.D. thesis ‘‘Christian-Arabic translations of the Pentateuch from the 9th-13th centuries: a comparative study of manuscripts and translation techniques’ for publication. Within the Research Unit, his responsibility will include supervising the charting, description, and analysis of Christian-Arabic translation traditions of the Bible.

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