Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellows 2019-20:
Alya Karame, PhD, is joining the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as a Mellon Postdoctoral fellow in the Centre for Arts and Humanities (CAH). Before joining AUB Alya was the holder of the Barakat Trust Award (2018-2019), a research associate of the Khalili Research Centre at the University of Oxford where she started working on her book project entitled Continuity, Change and Rupture: Qur'an Manuscripts of the Central and Eastern Islamic Lands 950-1200 CE. Alya was also a research associate of the “Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices" programme of the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin. In 2016, she joined the Kunsthistorisches Institut research program in Florence “Connecting Art Histories in the Museum" and was based for two years at the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin. Alya completed her PhD in 2016 in Islamic Art History at the University of Edinburgh and her MA in History of Art & Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2011. In the last few years, she lectured widely on her work and led workshops on the Qur'an in museums and academic institutions.
Aila Santi, PhD, has just joined the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as a Mellon Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Arts and Humanities. She was trained at Sapienza University of Rome where she earned a BA (2012) and a MA (2015) cum laude in Islamic Archaeology and History of Art and a PhD (2019) in Archaeology with a dissertation entitled “The relationship between Mosque and Dar al-Imara in the Early Islamic period: the study cases of Madina, Kufa and ‘Anjar in the light of a reassessment of the urbanism of the origins”. She was awarded two research grants from Sapienza University of Rome to carry out archaeological fieldworks in ‘Anjar (2017) and Kufa (2018), and she is currently a member of the Sapienza Italian Archaeological Mission in the ʿIraqi Kurdistan (MAIKI). From March to August 2019 she carried out a 6 months research devoted to the early Islamic topography of Madina al-Munawwara at SOAS University of London. Her principal field of interest is the early Islamic urban archaeology of the central lands of the caliphate with special regard to the formation and development of the monumental language of the Muslim élite from the rise of Islam to the affirmation of the Umayyad power.
Sarah's research focuses on applied theatre for creative economic development throughout the global South, with particular attention on South Asia and the Middle East. She holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota, where she taught courses in theatre arts and global studies and worked as an arts educator in the Twin Cities public school system. Past research fellowships include residencies at Institutes for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota and the Indian Institute of Science, and her published work can be seen in outlets including RIDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance (2017) and AGITATE! (2019). Sarah's book-in-progress provides a critical ethnography of corporate theatre training in a post IT-Revolution India that details how theatre has become a key technology of 21st century business management and examines the broader implications of corporate theatre for artistic labor and praxis in creative capitalism.