Middle East Beyond Borders Graduate Student Workshop

Academic Year 2021-2022

Faculty Adviser:
Prof. Malika Zeghal, mzeghal@fas.harvard.edu

Graduate Student Coordinator:
Omar Abdel-Ghaffar, oabdelghaffar@g.harvard.edu

The Middle East Beyond Borders (MEBB) workshop aims to foster an interdisciplinary community of scholars working on the past and present of the Middle East. It takes as its founding premise the idea that the “Middle East” as an object of inquiry must fundamentally engage notions of boundaries, mobility, and transformation. Our goal is to offer a platform for collaboration and discussion to all Middle East scholars at Harvard across a wide range of academic fields and disciplines. To date, our community has welcomed scholars from NELC, History, Middle Eastern Studies, Anthropology, the Study of Religion, Law, Art and Architecture, and more. During meetings, we typically workshop a polished work-in-progress from an advanced graduate student, but we occasionally accept papers from visiting scholars and faculty members.

Please email oabdelghaffar@g.harvard.edu for the Zoom link and to request drafts of papers, if available, prior to the workshop session.

Fall 2021 schedule:



Fall 2020 meetings:

September 21: Youssef Ben Ismail (PhD Candidate, NELC)

Dissertation Chapter, "'Who protects Tunis?' The many meanings of protection in the nineteenth-century Mediterranean (1830-1881)"


October 5: Laura Thompson (PhD Candidate, Committee on the Study of Religion)

Dissertation Chapter, “Sacred Freedoms, Sacred Faith: Al Muqaddasat in Post- Arab Spring Tunisia (2011-2013)” 


October 19: Kenan Tekin (Visiting Fellow, NELC)

Book Chapter, "Conception of Science in the Commentaries and Glosses on the Prolegomenon of Kātibī’s Shamsiyya"


November 2: Chloe Bordewich (PhD Candidate, History and Middle Eastern Studies)

Dissertation Chapter, "Information at War: Rumor, News, and Silence in Egypt’s East African Empire"


November 16: Mohamed R. Abdelsalam (PhD Candidate, Sciences Po Law School, Former Visiting Fellow in Religion)

Dissertation Chapter, "Judicialization of Religion" 


November 30: Shireen Hamza (PhD Candidate, History of Science)

Dissertation Chapter, "How Islamic is Islamic Medicine? Text and the Body in Tibb" 


Spring 2021 Meetings
February 1: Ari Schriber (PhD Candidate, NELC), Dissertation Chapter, "Paternity Claim, Lineage, and Slavery: Adjudicating Istilḥāq in Colonial Moroccan Sharī'a Courts"
February 8: Chloe Bordewich (PhD Candidate, HMES), Dissertation Chapter, "Information at War: Rumor, News, and Silence in Egypt’s East African Empire”
February 22: Mary Elston (Visiting Fellow, HLS Program on Law and Society in the Muslim World), Journal Article, "Becoming Turāth: Tradition in Modern Egypt”
March 8: Hassaan Shahawy (JD Candidate, HLS; PhD in Islamic Law, Oxford), Book Chapter, "Fake Hanafis and Radical Basrans in 9th Century Iraq”
March 22: Daria Kovaleva (PhD Candidate, HMES), Dissertation Chapter, Oral Drama in Early Modern Istanbul: Poetics of Improvisation and Impression”
April 5: *PROSPECTUS DAY* 1. Timothy Loh (PhD Candidate, HASTS, MIT) + 2. TBA
April 19: Caroline Kahlenberg (PhD Candidate, HMES), Dissertation Chapter, Age, Race, and Jewish Terrorism on Trial in Mandatory Palestine: The Case of Rachel Habshush”