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Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies (CAMES)

CAMES Steering Committee

Waleed Hazbun (PSPA), Chair
Waleed Hazbun received his PhD in Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002.  He joined AUB’s PSPA Department in the Fall of 2010 and has previously taught international relations at the Johns Hopkins University.  He has served as Director of CAMES since September 2011. He is the author of Beaches, Ruins, Resorts: The Politics of Tourism in the Arab World (Minnesota, 2008) and essays published in Geopolitics, Peace & Change, Middle East Report, Tourist Studies, and Arab Studies Journal. His main areas of research and teaching include international political economy, US foreign policy and US-Middle East political and cultural relations, the history and politics of tourism development in the Middle East, and the changing dynamics of regional politics and insecurity in the Arab World.
[PSPA bio]
[personal web page]

Nader El-Bizri (CVSP), Program Coordinator for Islamic Studies
Nader El-Bizri received his PhD from the New School for Social Research in New York in 1999. He is currently a Professor and Director of  the Civilization Sequence Program at AUB, and the Director of the Anis Makdisi Program in Literature. Prior to joining AUB in 2012, he was a Principal Lecturer (Reader) at the University of Lincoln, and has lectured at the Universities of Cambridge and Nottingham, the London Consortium, and taught at Harvard University. Professor El-Bizri has published and lectured widely and internationally in Islamic Studies, Philosophy, History of Science and Architectural Humanities.
[CVSP webpage]
[AMPL webpage]

Samer Frangie (PSPA)
Samer Frangie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut, where he teaches courses on Arab politics, Arab political thought and social and political theory. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2009. His current research focuses on the transformation of the practices of political critique in and of the Arab world and the changing role of intellectuals in the second half of the twentieth century. More specifically, it investigates the end of the radical moment of the fifties and sixties and its implications in terms of the altered political subjectivities of intellectuals, the transformation in the political use of theory, and the question of the historiography of the Arab world.

Tariq Tell (PSPA)
Tariq Tell joined the department of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut as Assistant Professor in the fall of 2014. He has previously taught at the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies at AUB, at the American University in Cairo and at the University of Manchester (UK). He has also held research posts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and in Amman at the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherche sur le Moyen Orient Contemporain (CERMOC) and the Royal Scientific Society. Tell has co-edited Village, Steppe and State: The Social Origins of Modern Jordan (1994) and edited The Resilience of Hashemite Rule: Politics and the State in Jordan before 1967 (2001).  His book, The Social and Economic Origins of Monarchy in Jordan was published in 2013 and he is now working on a Historical Dictionary of Modern Jordan (forthcoming).  He holds degrees from St. Antony’s College (Oxford University), the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex) and the London School of Economics and Political Science. His current research interests include the comparative history and politics of Arab monarchies and the relationship between imperialism, food sovereignty and political stability in the Middle East.

Lyall Armstrong (History/Archeology)
Lyall Armstrong is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Archaeology where he teaches early Islamic history. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2013. His research interests are in early Islamic thought and theology, the life of the Prophet, and Qur’ānic Studies.  He is also interested in the period of Late Antiquity, including the history of early Christianity.  He teaches courses on Islamic history from its rise through the Umayyad period, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam, the Formation of Islamic Thought, the Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity and the History of Ancient Christianity.  He is currently working on a manuscript on the role of a group of early Islamic scholars, the qussas, in the formation of Islamic thought.

Sylvain Perdigon (SOAM)
Sylvain Perdigon joined the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies (SOAM) in January 2013 as Assistant Professor of Anthropology. His research concerns the making and transformations of moral and spiritual obligation in the contemporary Middle East. His current project he explores how the contradictory historical processes set in motion by the politics of empire, nationhood and sovereignty in the Eastern Mediterranean are critically refracted through enduring modes of obligation to various human (relatives) and nonhuman (texts, dream-images, and angels) entities in a Palestinian refugee community in Tyre, South Lebanon. His research, teaching and mentoring interests include, but are not limited to: ethics; religion, especially Islam; kinship; refugee worlds and social abandonment; sovereignty and the law; violence and social suffering; gender, sexuality and embodiment; language and semiotics; the everyday; human-nonhuman relations.

Nadya Sbaiti (CAMES/SOAM) 
Nadya Sbaiti will join AUB as Assistant Professor at CAMES/SOAM in January 2015. She holds degrees from Tufts University and Georgetown University and has taught at Mount Holyoke College and Smith College. She specializes in the social and cultural histories of the modern Middle East. Her current book manuscript examines the central role of education to the formation of multiple national narratives and the production of history in Lebanon under French mandate. Her publications include "'A Massacre without Precedent': Pedagogical Constituencies and Communities of Knowledge in Mandate Lebanon," (forthcoming); “‘If the Devil Spoke French’: Strategies of Language and Learning in French Mandate Beirut,” about the cultural and political significance of language of instruction in French mandate Beirut, and has written articles that guide researchers through Lebanon’s postwar archival terrain. Additional research interests include spatial manifestations of colonial and national projects; colonial methods of social control; the production of history as both discursive and material practice; tourism and heritage; and contemporary popular culture (music, film, game shows, and reality television). In addition, she has served as co-editor of the peer-reviewed Arab Studies Journal and helped produce the acclaimed documentary film, "About Baghdad" (2004).

Sonja Mejcher-Atassi (English)
Sonja Mejcher-Atassi is Associate Professor in the Department of English and its Chairperson at the American University of Beirut (AUB). She studied Arabic literature at the University of Oxford (DPhil 2005) and comparative literature and Arabic studies at the Free University of Berlin (MA 2000). Her research interests are in modern and contemporary literature and art, interrelations of word and image, book art, collection and museum studies, gender studies, aesthetics and politics, and cultural memory and history. She is a member of the editorial board of “Literatures in Context,” a book series published by Reichert. Her publications include: Reading Across Modern Arabic Literature and Art (2012; ed. with John Pedro Schwartz); Museums, Archives and Collecting Practices in the Modern Arab World (2012) as well as articles published in Jadaliyya; IJMES; Art History; MIT EJMES and Arabic Literature: Postmodern Perspectives Angelika Neuwirth et al (2010; ed.)

Alexis Wick (History/Archeology)
Alexis Wick is Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Archaeology. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 2010. He is the author of History at Sea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015) and essays published in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Journal of Ottoman Studies, Feminist Review, and African Identities, among other places. His research pursues a global and plural approach to the genealogy of concepts, with a special focus on the Ottoman and Arab past.

Aliya Saidi (CAMES), non-voting member


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