Ph. D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University
M.A. in Arab Studies (Politics), Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University
M.A. in Political Science, Sciences Po Paris (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris): major in State Administration (Economics, Public Law, European Union, Modern European History, Foreign Languages)
I am a social historian of the medieval Islamic world with a primary focus on Abbasid Baghdad. My research has focused on the micro history of the city, in particular its neighborhoods, and the relations between its various confessional groups and quarters. I have created several maps that reconstruct, through narrative sources, the social trends, the division of space between Sunnis and Shi’a, as well as the religious rituals and procession routes in the city during the Abbasid period. Beyond the city itself, I am very interested in historiographical issues, in particular the question of why certain events were depicted the way they were in the source material. How shall the modern historian deal with a plethora of narratives on the same event? A second axis of my work is the social and intellectual history of the Mamluk period, with a focus on popular rebellions, as well as religious polemics. My academic background in politics explains the third axis of my research: sectarianism in Iraq since 2003, as well as the fragmentation of the Syrian nation-state following the civil war that started in 2011.
My current project is a monograph (with CUP) that examines the 1258 fall of Baghdad and its memory in the late medieval and contemporary period, analyzing the resurgence of discourses on 1258 after 2003. I made this short video describing the project (in French) during my fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Paris (2021-22).
I earned my PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. A Fulbright alumna from France, I hold a Master’s degree in Political Science from Sciences Po Paris, and a second Master’s degree in Arab Studies (Politics) from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. Prior to moving to sunny Florida, I was the Jameel Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cardiff University. Between 2015 and 2017, I was also an Early Career Fellow and Lecturer in Islamic History at the University of Oxford where I taught Islamic history lectures, graduate seminars, and translation seminars of early and medieval Arabic sources. Before Oxford, I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore.
I have lived in 12 countries and visited over 50. I am a Fulbright alumna.
Introduction to Islam
Islamic History 570-1500 (seminar)
Islamic Movements: Militancy Through the Ages (seminar)
Illness, Healing, and Medicine in Islam (seminar)
Islam in Western Media: A Deconstruction
Empire, Power, and Culture: Genghis Khan and the Mongols (seminar)
- “The Many Deaths of the Last Abbasid Caliph al-Musta ‘sim bi-llah (d. 1258)” in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, series 3 (2020), pp. 1-28.
- “Sectarianization and Memory in the Post-Saddam Middle East: the ‘Alaqima,” in The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, July 2020, pp. 159-176.
- “Al-Karkh: the Development of an Imāmī-Shīʿī Stronghold in Early Abbasid and Būyid Baghdad (132-447/750-1055)” in Studia Islamica 114 (2019), pp. 265-315.
- “Sectarianism in Iraq: the Role of the Coalition Provisional Authority,” with Tim Jacoby, in Critical Studies on Terrorism, 11:3 (2018), pp. 478-500.
- “Syria’s Arab Spring: Language Enrichment in the Midst of Revolution,” in Language, Discourse, and Society, 2:2 (2013), pp. 11-31 (received the Academic Excellence Award by the International Sociological Association, July 2014; was covered in The Boston Globe: http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/10/06/syria-code-language-defies-surveillance/1c18bNgxlIkqoCElLi1eYM/story.html).
Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters
- « Les Processions Religieuses et le Partage de l’Espace entre Sunnites et Chiites à Bagdad à l’Epoque Bouyide, » in ed. Sylvie Denoix and Helene Renel, Atlas des Mondes Musulmans Médiévaux (Paris : Editions CNRS, 2022).
- “Revolts in the Middle East 1200-1500,” in ed. Hannah Skoda, Crime and Deviance in the Later Middle Ages (York: ARC Humanities, in press).
- “The Role of Religion in the Mongol Conquest of Baghdad (1258),” in ed. Alan James, Ioannis Papadogiannakis, Religion and War from Antiquity to Early Modernity (London: Bloomsbury Academic, in press).
Peer-Reviewed Encyclopedia Entries and Articles
- “Al-Madā’in,” in the Encyclopedia of Islam, 3rd edition, ed. Gudrun Kramer (Leiden: Brill, 2021).
- “‘Usman dan Fodio,” in The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ed. Gerhard Bowering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
- “Mu‘tazilis,” in The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ed. Gerhard Bowering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
- “The Muslim League,” in The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ed. Gerhard Bowering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
- “Al-Qaeda,” in The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ed. Gerhard Bowering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
- “Saladin,” in The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ed. Gerhard Bowering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
- “Gamal Abdel Nasser,” in The Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ed. Gerhard Bowering (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012).
Other Invited Publications & Press
- “Foreword,” with Ziad Majed, in Syria: Borders, Boundaries, and the State, ed. Matthieu Cimino (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), pp. v-xi.
- “Maliki’s Legacy and the Intricate Crisis of the Iraqi Political System,” Insight, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore, September 10, 2014.
- “A Sunni-Shia Bridge Too Far,” with Ali A. Allawi, in Project Syndicate, May 5, 2014. Voted among 10 best articles on International Security Issues (ISIS Europe blog): https://isiseurope.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/the-10-best-articles-on-international-security-issues-this-week-5/
- “Sunni-Shi‘i Polemics. The Fall of Baghdad: From 1258 to 2003, A Polarized Memory,” in “A Nation in Need of Theology,” blog by Georgetown Professor Paul Heck on Religious Polemics, http://www.paulheck.org/sunni-shii-polemics/
- NPR Interview for Here and Now: “Syria’s Arab Spring,” 15 November 2013: https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2013/11/15/syria-coded-language
- Tedx Ocala Speaker 2020: “A Professor’s Advice: What you Should Know About Islam”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vy_gSMOgoxE