Areas of Study and Research Interests
Gil Breger, Cuneiform Studies.
Gil is a Ph.D. student in the Cuneiform Studies program. He received a B.A and an M.A. in Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures from Tel Aviv University, Israel. He also received a B.A. in East Asian Studies from the same institution. Focusing his studies mostly on the languages of the Ancient Near East, he nonetheless participated in numerous archaeological excavations all over Israel, directing several of them. He is primarily interested in Babylonian astronomy and the intersection between the practice of astronomy and its place in society. Gil is also exploring diverse uses of Digital Humanities in facilitating and enhancing research in Assyriology.
Stephanie Brown, Near Eastern Archaeology.
Stephanie is a Ph.D. student specializing in the archaeology of the Southern Levant. She received a B.A. in History and a M.A. in Ancient Mediterranean History, both at North Carolina State University. Her primary area of interest is the archaeology of Iron Age Jordan, and her research looks at subsistence strategies of nomadic and semi-nomadic populations in southern Jordan, specifically while under the influence of the Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and Persian Empires.
Shirelle Maya Doughty
Shirelle is a doctoral student focusing on Israeli and Palestinian cinema and literature as part of her broader engagement with the role of art in constructing group identities and in creating conditions that enable (or break down) tolerance between groups.
Eduardo Escobar, Cuneiform Studies; Designated Emphasis in Science & Technology Studies
I study the languages, historiography, and epistemology of science and technology in Assyrian and Babylonian scholarship. My research focuses on technical and medical procedural recipes from the ancient Middle East, composed in Akkadian on cuneiform tablets during the late second and first millennia BCE. My dissertation ("Technology as Knowledge: A Study of Cuneiform Procedural Recipes and Materials") seeks to understand the nature of procedural recipe knowledge, and, in addition, to employ digital tools for the disambiguation of rare technical terms. To this end, I have incorporated network analysis tools into my dissertation in order to produce semantic networks of technical ingredients in context: http://digitalhumanities.berkeley.edu/blog/15/11/24/dh-fellow-eduardo-escobar-analyzing-social-networks-and-semantic-networks-assyriology. In addition to UC Berkeley, I have studied at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Columbia University, and more recently, as a visiting student at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Cambridge.
Ayelet Even-Nur, Hebrew Language and Literature.
Middle Eastern Literatures.
Ayelet Even-Nur began her graduate studies at Berkeley in 2011, where she works in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. Primary academic interests include the converging sites of multilinualism and translation; memory and identity; subject formation through the grammars of law and language; and potential intersections of poetry and politics.
Amin Ehteshami, Islamic Studies
Amin Ehteshami is a doctoral student in Islamic studies. His research primarily focuses on Shiʿi thought; Islamic intellectual history; exegesis of the Qurʾan; and theology.
Dylan Guerra, Cuneiform Stydies.
Dylan Guerra obtained his B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA in 2015. While he was there he studied cuneiform alongside archaeology, and excavated in Tunisia and Ethiopia. His academic interests include scribal schools, lexicography, genre and textual transmission, scribal identity, the performance of magic, and humor in Mesopotamian literature. In addition, he is greatly interested in the Digital Humanities as way to model and strengthen Assyriological research.
Muhammad U. Faruque, Islamic Studies.
Qur'anic exegesis, Islamic philosophy and theology, philosophical Sufism, Persian and Arabic literature, contemporary topics in Islamic thought.
Muhammad U. Faruque is a PhD student specializing in Islamic thought, philosophy, and Persian (mystical) literature. His research focuses on Graeco-Arabica, Islamic philosophy and theology (especially, post-classical philosophy), and philosophical Sufism. Muhammad received his B.Sc. in Economics from the University of London in 2011. After his graduation, motivated by an increasing awareness at that time of the absolutely essential nature of learning primary languages well enough to deal with classical Islamic texts, he travelled to Iran to explore the Islamic intellectual tradition in depth. He managed to learn Persian in six months and merited entrance to the M.A. program in Islamic philosophy at Tehran University (the entire MA program is taught in Persian, based on reading original Arabic texts) where he completed his dissertation (Jun 2014) on Mullā Ṣadrā’s and Dāwūd Qayṣarī’s metaphysics, with particular emphasis on their treatment of the “absolutely unconditioned being.” He has also authored and co-authored a number of articles in Persian and English, including one on the primacy of the self (atman) in Advaita Vedanta and light (al-nūr, as principle of consciousness) in Suhrawardī (d. 1191) and the school of Illumination. He is also the recipient of a number of awards including the prestigious The Berkeley Fellowship for Graduate Study. Web: http://berkeley.academia.edu/MuhammadUFaruque
Daniel S. Fisher, Hebrew Bible.
Biblical Hebrew language and literature, historiography in the Hebrew Bible, textual criticism, reception history, social memory studies, material culture studies, religious and literary traditions of the ancient Near East
Daniel Fisher is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley. Daniel’s research explores social, historical, and literary questions in the Hebrew Bible and early Jewish biblical interpretation. He is currently writing a dissertation entitled, “Memories of the Ark: Cultural Memory, Material Culture, and the Construction of the Past in Biblical Societies.” The project develops a cultural biography of the Ark of the Covenant, exploring its use and reuse as a site of memory before and after its loss. ”Memories of the Ark” examines the central roles that objects play in the Hebrew Bible, considering the ways that biblical writers and early biblical interpreters engaged with objects--at times claiming, reimagining, and contesting them, but almost always remembering with them.
Roy A. Fisher, Near Eastern Religions.
Social memory and identity construction in early biblical interpretation.
Linda Istanbulli, Arabic Language and literature.
Victoria Jensen, Egyptology.
Vicky Jensen received an A.B. in Political Science (1987) and A.M. in International Relations (1988) from The University of Chicago. After a successful career of helping university faculty and medical staff obtain research grants, she is now pursuing her own academic passion of studying Egyptology. Vicky has had fieldwork experience at Abydos, where she worked on the Ahmose-Tetisheri Project under the leadership of Dr. Stephen Harvey. She has two particular research interests: the Predynastic period and its tremendous social and theological changes, and the transition from the 17th to 18th dynasty and the power exercised by royal women during that time period.
Matthew Ong obtained a BA in mathematics from Princeton cum laude in 2003, and an MA in Near Eastern Studies from UCLA in 2010 and one in Linguistics from UCSC in 2013. In 2008 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Syria doing research on cuneiform collections in museums and studying Arabic. Between 2013 and 2015 he was in China teaching English and studying Chinese. His research interests include Babylonian astronomy and mathematics and comparison of ancient writing systems.
Kea Johnston, Egyptology.
Kea obtained BAs in both Computer Science and Biology from Brown University in 2005, though she maintained an interest in Egyptology throughout her undergraduate studies. While at Brown, she was invited to go to Egypt as an epigrapher with the Brown/AUC expedition to the Abu Bakr Cemetery at Giza in 2005. Having been a software engineer for a decade, she is currently working towards a PhD in Egyptology. Her interests include the development of funerary art and iconography during the New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, as well as class differences amongst the Ancient Egyptians.
Jessica Kaiser, Egyptian Archaeology.
Mortuary and field archaeology, osteology, taphonomy, agency in sacred landscapes, cultural interaction and acculturation in the 1st millennium BCE.
Fateme Montazeri, Persian Studies
Fateme Montazeri is a PhD student of Persian Studies. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Tehran, and moved to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. She completed the Master’s program of Islamic Arts at the Graduate Theological Union, in which she focused on Persian illustrated manuscripts of Middle Ages. Her thesis, “Why Death? An Inquiry into Text and Context of Persian painting,” deals with a 15th century manuscript of Layla and Majnun. Her research interests include Persian medieval literature, Sufi literature, codicology, early manuscripts of the Quran, and Islamic arts of the book—particularly calligraphy, Persian painting, and text-image relationship within manuscripts.
Brooke Norton, Egyptian Archaeology
Brooke received her B.A. in archaeology from Boston University in 2011 and her M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian Studies from New York University in 2013. Her M.A. thesis focused on an examination of the archaeological contexts of a group of magical objects collectively known as Execration Texts. Brooke’s interests include Egyptian art and archeology, economic and cultural connections between Egypt and the Southern Levant, and execration figures. Brooke has excavation experience mainly in Egypt and Jordan; however, she also has experience in Israel, Italy, and most recently the USA. In Egypt, Brooke works in the Dakhla Oasis and in the Eastern Desert near Aswan.
Madeline. L. Pruitt, Near Eastern Archaeology.
Archaeology of inter-cultural relations, Middle Bronze Age, Mesopotamia, Southern Levant, social memory, cultural identity.
Jenna Stover-Kemp, Hebrew Bible.
Jenna's work focuses on the Hebrew Bible, and particularly Pentateuchal traditions. Her approach combines multiple methods including critical theory, anthropology, and sociology, with a firm grounding in the Bible's historical ancient Near Eastern context and attention to issues of textual production. The questions she asks are primarily focused on issues of cultural memory, historiography, and the history of ideas in ancient Israel and Judah. Because the way that communities tell stories and compose their history reflects beliefs about who they are, examining traditions that are represented in multiple texts throughout various times and locations is fruitful ground for understanding how ancient Israelites and Judeans understood themselves and their world.
Hassan Rezakhany, Islamic Studies. History of philosophy and science.
Hassan is a PhD student interested in intellectual history in Arabic and Persian sources.
Betty Rosen, Arabic and Hebrew Literature.
Betty Rosen is a doctoral student focusing on Arabic and Hebrew literature. She earned her A.B. in Comparative Literature from Harvard in 2012 and her MA in Arabic Literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in 2013. She is interested in medieval Arabic theories of poetics and rhetoric—as well as Hebrew texts that respond to those theories—and in reading this Near Eastern critical tradition as an equal partner alongside the Continental tradition. In doing so, she aims to enable new, productive, and genuinely multicultural ways of thinking about the possibilities of literature and literary thought.
Pei-Chen Tsung, Arabic Language and Literature.
Classical Arabic Literature.
Pei-Chen Tsung received her B.A in Arabic Language and Literature at National Chengchi University (Taipei, Taiwan) and M.A in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Harvard University. Her MA thesis is entitled “Beauty, Intoxication and Verbal Alchemy, the Imagery of Abu Nuwās’ Wine Poetry through the Lens of al-Jurjānī’s Literary Theory.” She is interested in classical Arabic literature and literary theory and criticism. More specifically she is focusing on the imagery in the poem and prose.
Lubna Safi, Arabic language and Literature.
Lubna Safi received her B.A in English Literature from Indiana University, Bloomington and her M.A in Comparative Literature from The Pennsylvania State University. Her work focuses on classical and medieval Arabic poetry and poetics—particularly its reception by 20th and 21st century Arabic and Spanish poetry—and rethinks the relation between classical and modern texts within the Arabic literary tradition. She is also interested in the ways in which the qaṣīdah has been adapted as a transhistorical and transcultural form and its relationship to other poetic forms. Her academic interests include intertextuality, translation studies, Critical Theory, post colonial and feminist theory as well as theories of aesthetics.
Oren Yirmiya, Hebrew and Jewish literatures.
Oren has received his B.A. degree in Literature and Sociology, Tel-Aviv University (magna cum laude, 2014) and M.A. degree in Hebrew Literature, Tal-Aviv University (summa cum laude, 2016). He is a student of Hebrew and Jewish literatures (enrolled 2016) focusing on the 20th century poetry of mandatory Palestine and the state of Israel. Within this frame, Oren’s work engages with question of agency, personal and national, and its mediation of history, cognition and enjoyment; questions regarding the use of lyrical aesthetics in Israeli poetry and politics; and alternative conceptualizations of Jewish socio-literary taxonomy of groupings, genres, and generations. Before joining UC Berkeley, Oren has taken parts in various Israeli social justice and peace organizations such as New Profile, Sheikh-Jarrah Solidarity and Amutat Alon. His academic interests include: critical thoery, lyric theory, gender studies, cultural studies, psychoanalysis and world literature theory.
Madeline Wyse, Hebrew Language and Literature
Rabbinic Literature, Arabic Literature, Religious History.
Madeline Wyse received her B.A. in Classics and Mathematics from Pomona College in 2011 and a second B.A. in Arabic Language and Literature from Portland State University in 2015. She is interested the construction of “religion” and demarcation of religious communities from the advent of Christianity to the rise of Islam.