Faculty and Staff

Project Directors

Academic Director Maha Nassar Institute Director Dr. Maha Nassar is an Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History and Islamic Studies in the University of Arizona School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS). She is a cultural and intellectual historian of the twentieth-century Arab world with a focus on Palestinian history during the 1950s and 1960s. Her research on intellectual constructs of social, political, and cultural identities seeks to trace the circulation of political vocabularies that construct as well as contest nationalist narratives. She has conducted fieldwork in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine.

To learn a lot more about Dr. Nassar, her publications, and her research, CLICK HERE.



Academic Director Lisa Adeli Co-Director Dr. Lisa Adeli is the Director of Educational Outreach at the University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES). A historian of the modern Balkans by academic background, she is an educator by profession with an extensive background in community college and high school teaching. She is a fellow with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National World War I Museum, an active participant in the National Council for the Social Studies, the Community College Humanities Association, and numerous local/regional professional associations.

To learn more about Dr. Adeli and her work, CLICK HERE


Visiting Scholar

Visiting Scholar Aomar BoumDr. Aomar Boum is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. A socio-cultural anthropologist with a historical bent, he is concerned with the social and cultural representation and political discourse about religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and North Africa.

To learn more about Dr. Boum, his publications, and his research, CLICK HERE.




Program Speakers

Dr. Benjamin Fortna is a historian of the Modern Middle East with a particular research focus on the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish Republic. After completing degrees at Yale, Columbia and the University of Chicago, he taught at the School of Oriental & African Studies in the University of London for eighteen years. To learn more about Dr. Fortna, his publications, and his research, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Courtney Dorroll is an assistant professor of religion and Middle Eastern and North African Studies at Wofford University in South Carolina. Her area of expertise include Islam and gender and the Turkish youth Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, Turkey. To learn more about Dr. Dorroll, her publications, and her research, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Leila Hudson is an Associate Professor of Modern Middle East Culture and Political Economy with a Ph. D in Anthropology and History from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include: Syria, Iraq, late Ottoman Arab provinces, conflict dynamics, political history, and media. Much of her work focuses on Syria in the late Ottoman and modern periods. To learn more about Dr. Hudson’s work and publications, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Julie Ellison-Speight is the Assistant Director of the University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She has a PhD in Near Eastern Studies, with a focus on Iranian women's movements at the beginning of the 20th century.  Her other publications focus on Iranian women's cinema.

Dr. Anne Betteridge is an anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.  Anne H. Betteridge is Director of the University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a faculty member in the UA School of Middle Eastern & North African Studies. She served as Executive Director of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) from 1990-2002. Dr. Betteridge’s research interests focus on Iranian culture, and women and ritual in particular. To learn more about Dr. Betteridge, her publications, and her research, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Denis Provencher is a Professor of French and is Department Head in French & Italian at the University of Arizona. He is also Acting Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies. He is a scholar of contemporary French and Francophone cultural studies with an emphasis on language and sexuality studies and queer migration. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Contemporary French Civilization and co-editor of the book series Studies in Modern and Contemporary France, both published by Liverpool. To learn more about Dr. Provencher, his publications, and his research,CLICK HERE.

Dr. Daniel Asia (speaking with Dr. Aryeh Tepper of Ben Gurion University) is an eclectic and unique composer. Over his long career he has enjoyed grants from Meet the Composer, a UK Fulbright award, Guggeneheim Fellowship, DAAD, MacDowell and Tanglewood fellowships, ASCAP and BMI prizes, Copland Fund grants, a Barlow Award, and numerous others. In 2010 he was awarded an Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. From 1991-1994 he was Meet the Composer Composer-in-Residence of the Phoenix Symphony. To learn more about Dr. Asia, his work, and his music, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Scott Lucas is an Associate Professor of Islamic Studies.  His research explores the creative process by which individual Muslim scholars composed works in the genres of law, hadith, and Qur’anic commentary during the classical period of Islamic civilization. To learn more about Dr. Lucas, his publications, and his work, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Sama Alshaibi is a professor of art at the University of Arizona.  Her multi-media artwork disinters negotiations in spaces of conflict: the causation and aftermath of war and exile, the clashes between nation and citizenry, the vexatious dynamics of humans competing for land, resources and power, and finally, one’s own internal struggle with mental entrapment through self-policing emotions such as fear. To learn more about Dr. Sama Alshaibi, her art, and exhibitions, CLICK HERE.