Stephanie Brown 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.


Antonietta Catanzariti
, Near Eastern Archaeology.
Middle Bronze Age trade and exchange, ceramic economy.
Antonietta Catanzariti received her BA in 2005 and MA in 2008 at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy in Near Eastern Art and Archaeology. In 2011, she received her Candidate to Philosophy Degree at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently writing her dissertation on the Middle Bronze Age ceramic economy of Kamid el-Loz, Lebanon. Her research interests include art and archaeology of the ancient Near East, international relations, ceramic economy, landscape archaeology, agency, Bronze Age Lebanon and southern Syria, Mesopotamian art and archaeology and underwater archaeology. She was a researcher at the Walters Art Museum of Baltimore in 2008 and participated in excavations in Italy (Venice, Arezzo, Aquila) as well as in an underwater excavation in collaboration with the University of Ca’Foscari Venice. In the Middle East, she participated in missions in Syria at the sites of Tell Ahmar with the Liege University and Umm el Marra with the John Hopkins University. In Jordan, she excavated at Dhiban with UC Berkeley and is currently a member of the team from the Freiburg University of Germany investigating the site of Kamid el Loz, Lebanon.

Andrea CreelAndrea Creel, Near Eastern Archaeology.
Ritual, Materiality, Practice, Memory, Landscape, Gender and Identity in the Late Bronze & Iron Age Southern Levant.
Andrea received her Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from DePaul University in 2005 and her Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California-Berkeley in 2009. She is currently a Candidate of Philosophy in Near Eastern Studies at the University of California-Berkeley, where she is working on her dissertation entitled, "Desert Devotions: Ritual Deposition, Storage and Disposal in the Iron Age Wilderness of the Southern Levant." Her research and theoretical interests include religion and ritual studies, practice theory, materiality, memory, landscape and gender and the body (with particular reference to Levantine terracotta figurines). She has excavated in Chicago, Illinois and with the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, Israel and has acted as Registrar and Collections Manager at the Badè  Museum of Biblical Archaeology in Berkeley, California.


Andrea CreelAnna Cruz, Arabic Language and Literature.
Modern Arabic Literature.
Anna C. Cruz received her A.B. from Dartmouth College in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies in 2007 and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Arabic Literature. Her research interests include cultural memory and identity and questions of loss, mourning, and nostalgia. Her dissertation, tentatively titled "Modes of Loss: al-Andalus in the Arabic Poetic Imagination," focuses on the representation of al-Andalus as a site of the construction and destruction of memory in classical and modern Arabic poetry. In addition to her research, Anna is an award-winning teacher of Arabic at Berkeley.

Eduardo Escobar, Cuneiform Studies; Designated Emphasis in Science & Technology Studies (
I study the language, historiography, and epistemology of science and technology in Assyrian and Babylonian scholarship. My research focuses on technical and medical procedural texts from the ancient Middle East, composed in Akkadian on cuneiform tablets during the late second and first millennia BC. In addition to UC Berkeley, I have studied at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Columbia University, and most recently, as a visiting student at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Cambridge.

Yedidya Etzion, Near Eastern Religions.
Yedidya Etzion is a Ph.D. candidate in the joint doctoral program for Near Eastern Religions. He received a B.A. in Bible and Jewish Studies and a M.A. in Jewish History, both form the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His main focus is on Hellenistic Judaism, Rabbinic literature and culture and The Dead Sea Scrolls. More specifically he is interested in the relationship between modes of interpretation, theology and Jewish law in late antiquity. Currently Yedidya is writing his dissertation on Philo of Alexandria and the development of Jewish Law. 


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 interests ​include exegesis, ​​intellectual history​, Shi'i theology, theory & ​method in the​ study​ of religion​​, and​ jurisprudence. 



Aria Fani, Persian Language and literature. (Web)
Aria Fani studies the contemporary poetry and literary historiography of the Persianate world as well as the social space of Persian in South Asia.




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.


Donna Honarpisheh, Persian Studies.
Donna Honarpisheh is a PhD student specializing in contemporary Persian literature. Her research interests include modernist Persian fiction, Iranian intellectual history, Shi'ism, postcoloniality, critical theory, and a politics of affect.




Lissette Jimenez, Egyptian Art and Archaeology. (Web)
Greco-Roman Art and Archaeology of Egypt, Greco-Roman Funerary Art, cross-cultural interaction and exchange.
Lissette Jimenez received her B.A. in Archaeology from Columbia University in 2006 and her M.A. in Near Eastern Studies (Egyptian Art and Archaeology) in 2009 from U.C. Berkeley.  In 2010 she received her Candidate of Philosophy Degree and is currently working on her dissertation, “Shrouded in Mystery: Constructions of Identity and Materiality of the Greco-Roman Shrouds of Ancient Egypt (1st c. BC-4th c. AD).” Lissette’s research interests include Egyptian art and archaeology, domestic archaeology, Eastern Mediterranean foreign relations, and constructions of identity, materiality, and memory.  She has participated in excavations with the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia (PARP:PS) in Pompeii, Italy, and New York University in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt.  Lissette currently excavates with U.C. Berkeley in Nemea, Greece, and U.C. Berkeley in el-Hibeh Egypt.

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.

Daniel is the 2014-2015 Magnes Fellow in Jewish Studies at the Bancroft Library’s Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, researching and curating an exhibition that explores material biblical interpretation across the collection.

Roy A. Fisher, Near Eastern Religions.
Social memory and identity construction in early biblical interpretation.

Rachel FriedmanRachel Friedman, Arabic literature, Islamic studies, Qur'anic studies. (Web)
Classical Arabic literature, classial Jewish Arabic literature, Qur'anic studies.
Rachel Friedman is a PhD student specializing in classical Arabic literature and Islamic Studies. She received her BA from Georgetown University in Arabic and Theology and her MA from the Department of Near Eastern Studies at UC-Berkeley. She has undertaken research in Yemen and Tunisia, as well as participating in the SORAC program (the Study of Religion across Civilizations) in Rabat, Morocco. She has a particular interest in the intersection of theology and literature in the classical Arab world, both in the Islamic and Andalusi Jewish realms, which has led her to focus on the iʿjāz al-Qur’ān discourse and philosophies of language developed through engagement with scripture. Also stemming from her interest in stylistic concerns in theological discourse, Rachel maintains a keen interest in medieval and modern approaches to the Qur’ān.

Elizabeth Gleason, Persian Language and literature.

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.


Jessica Kaiser, Egyptian Archaeology.
Mortuary and field archaeology, osteology, taphonomy, agency in sacred landscapes, cultural interaction and acculturation in the 1st millennium BCE.

M. L. Pruitt, Near Eastern Archaeology.
Archaeology of inter-cultural relations, Middle Bronze Age, Mesopotamia, Southern Levant, social memory, cultural identity.


Elizabeth Saylor, Arabic Literature.
Elizabeth Saylor is a Ph.D. Candidate in Arabic Literature specializing in the modern Arabic novel. A graduate of Columbia University, she studied at the American University in Cairo under a Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellowship. Elizabeth has special expertise in the work of Arab women authors, particularly those writing the turn of the Twentieth Century.  Her primary academic interests include Classical Arabic Literature, Modern Arabic Literature, the Arabic Novel, Feminist Literary Theory, and Gender and Women’s Studies. The tentative title of her dissertation, now in progress, is 'A Bridge Too Soon: The Life and Works of ‘Afīfa Karam, The First Arab-American Woman Novelist.'  In addition to her research, Elizabeth is a passionate teacher of Arabic language, for which she has received university-wide teaching awards.   


Kevin L. Schwartz
, Persian Language and Literature.
History of Iran, Indo-Persian history and culture, Persian travel literature, historiography.

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.

Martin Weber, Near Eastern Art and Archaeology.

Noah Wiener, Near Eastern Archaeology
Eastern Mediterranean, Bronze and Iron Age Archaeology
Noah received a B.A. in Ancient Studies and Archaeology at Brown University in 2009 and his M.A. in Near Eastern Archaeology at Leiden University (Netherlands) in 2011. A former Biblical Archaeology Society editor and Cultural Resource Management archaeologist, Noah has participated in fieldwork in the United States, Greece, and Israel. His research interests include imperialism, trade, memory, and identity in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Bronze and Iron Ages.