NES GRADUATE STUDENTS
AREAS OF STUDY AND RESEARCH INTERESTS
Samad Alavi, Persian Language and Literature
Modern Iranian poetry, Iranian history, Middle Eastern literatures, literary theory, translation studies.
I am currently writing my dissertation on the different ways that four modern Iranian poets -- Sa’id Soltanpur, Ahmad Shamlu, Mohammad Reza Shafi’i Kadkani, and Mohammad Mokhtari -- understand poetry and politics to intersect. In the dissertation, I try to put Persian poetry and criticism in dialogue with European and American poetry and critical theory, especially Theodor Adorno’s response to Jean Paul Sartre’s ideas of “committed literature” and Frankfurt School aesthetics in general. My research interests include modern Persian literature, poetry, translation, criticism, and literary history. You can read a paper and translation that I presented at the 2007 Middle Eastern Studies Association conference here (http://www.lerotte.net/index.php?id_article=109). In addition to my research, I am interested in teaching the Persian language and its rich literary traditions. I hold a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Georgia (2001) and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago (2006). Before starting graduate school, I taught English in Marrakesh, Morocco, for three years, an experience that I have found extremely helpful for teaching Persian here at Cal.
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 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.
Jay Crisostomo, Cuneiform Studies (Assyriology).
Sumerian grammar, Linguistics, Scribal education, Comparative Semitics, Akkadian translations of Sumerian, Textlinguistics.
Anna Cruz, Arabic Language and Literature.
Modern Arabic Literature.
Eduardo Escobar, Cuneiform Studies; Designated Emphasis in Science & Technology Studies (http://cstms.berkeley.edu/people/eduardo-a-escobar/).
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.
Ismail Elhallak, Arabic Language and Literature.
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.
Daniel S. Fisher, Hebrew Bible.
Biblical Hebrew language and literature, historiography in the Hebrew Bible, textual criticism, history of Jewish biblical interpretation, religious and literary traditions of the ancient Near East, social memory studies, material culture studies.
Daniel Fisher is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Daniel’s research asks social, historical, and literary questions of 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.” His project constructs a cultural biography of the Ark of the Covenant, exploring the Ark’s use and reuse as a site of memory before, and after, its loss. The dissertation is concerned with objects in the Hebrew Bible and the ways that biblical writers and early biblical interpreters engaged with them, variously claiming them, reimagining them, and contesting them, but almost always remembering with them. The project uses the Ark as a case study to consider questions about the complex relationship between material culture and cultural memory and identity, the roles that objects play in the formation of biblical societies, and what happens when those objects, like the Ark, are lost. In the spring and summer of 2014, Daniel will hold fellowships at the École Biblique and the Albright Institute in Jerusalem. Daniel received a B.A. (Honours) in religious studies from McGill University (2006), an M.A. in Hebrew Bible and Jewish studies from Vanderbilt University (2008), and a C.Phil. from the University of California, Berkeley (2012).
Roy A. Fisher, Near Eastern Religions.
Social memory and identity construction in early biblical interpretation.
Rachel 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 she subsequently studied religious texts in Rabat, Morocco as part of SORAC program (the Study of Religion across Civilizations). 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 as well as significant developments in adapting Arabic poetic conventions into the Hebrew poetic system in the Andalusi and post-Andalusi eras. 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.
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.
Jessica Kaiser, Egyptian Archaeology.
Mortuary and field archaeology, osteology, taphonomy, agency in sacred landscapes, cultural interaction and acculturation in the 1st millennium BCE.
Kiersten Neumann, Mesopotamian Art and Archaeology. (Web)
Neo-Assyrian Art and Archaeology, religion and ritual in the Ancient Near East, cross-cultural interaction and exchange.
Kiersten Neumann received a B.A. in Classical Studies and German (2001) and an M.A. in Ancient Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity in the Mediterranean (2005) from the University of British Columbia. She began the Near Eastern Art and Archaeology Doctoral Program at U.C. Berkeley in 2008, and received her Candidate of Philosophy Degree in Spring 2011. She is currently working on her dissertation, "Dwelling Place for the Gods: The Temple as a Ritualized and Ritualizing Built Environment in Neo-Assyria," under the guidance of her advisor, Marian Feldman. Kiersten's research interests include Neo-Assyrian art and archaeology, ritual practice and performance, the archaeology of ritual theory, Assyrian ritual in textual context, administrative and literary documents from the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and Mesopotamian art and archaeology in general. She has taken part in field excavations at the Athenian Agora in Greece and at the site of Tell Tayinat in Turkey, and holds the position of Associate Curator at the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology in Berkeley, California.
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.