MESA - Middle East Studies Association

2017 MESA Board of Directors Election

MESA is pleased to present the candidates running in the 2017 MESA Board of Directors Election. MESA members will be selecting two fellows and one student to serve on the Board of Directors, terms beginning at the conclusion of the 2017 annual meeting. The elected fellows will serve three-year terms and the elected student will serve a two-year term. The voting deadline is Thursday, October 12, 2017, at 11:59 p.m., Mountain Standard Time.


Candidates for Fellows Members of the Board of Directors

Ilana Feldman

Jens Hanssen

Sherene Seikaly

Nada Shabout

Ilana Feldman

Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs, George Washington University, 2016-present (Associate Professor, 2011-16; Assistant Professor, 2007-11); Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in Near East Studies, New York University, 2004-07; Fellow, Society of Fellows in the Humanities and Lecturer of Anthropology, Columbia University, 2002-04.

Education: PhD, Anthropology and History, University of Michigan, 2002; MA, Near Eastern Studies, New York University, 1994; BA, College of Letters, Wesleyan University, 1991.

Service to Profession: MESA: Program Committee, 2017; Book Review Editor, anthropology, IJMES, 2013-14; Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award, Social Sciences Committee, 2012; Nominating Committee, 2007. Other Service (selected): Vice-President, Board of Directors, Palestinian American Research Center (PARC), 2017-present; Co-editor, book series: “Police/Worlds: Studies in Security, Crime and Governance,” Cornell University Press, 2017-present; Editorial Committee, Middle East Report, 2017-present; President, Middle East Section, American Anthropological Association (AAA), 2015-17; Co-chair, Committee for Human Rights, AAA, 2010-12; Chair, Fellowship Committee, PARC, 2011; Gregory Bateson Book Prize Committee, Society for Cultural Anthropology, 2010; Board of Directors, Middle East Section, AAA, 2009-12.

Awards: Distinguished Scholar Award, Office of the Vice President for Research, George Washington University, 2017; Cultural Horizons Prize, Society for Cultural Anthropology, 2008; Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award (social sciences), 2002. Fellowships and Grants (selected): National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Fellowship, 2016-17; American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), Fellowship, 2016; Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, 2015-16; National Science Foundation, 2010-2014; Wenner-Gren Foundation, Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2005.

Publications: Books: Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule, Stanford, 2015; Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule (1917-1967), Duke, 2008; co-editor, In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care, Duke, 2010. Articles (selected): “Humanitarian Care and the Ends of Life: The Politics of Aging and Dying in a Palestinian Refugee Camp” Cultural Anthropology, 2017; “Reaction, Experimentation, and Refusal: Palestinian Refugees Confront the Future” History and Anthropology, 2016; “What is a Camp? Legitimate Refugee Lives in Spaces of Long-term Displacement” Geoforum 2015; “Looking for Humanitarian Purpose: Endurance and the value of lives in a Palestinian refugee camp” Public Culture, 2015; “The Challenge of Categories: UNRWA and the Definition of a ‘Palestine Refugee’ Journal of Refugee Studies, 2012;  “The Humanitarian Condition: Palestinian Refugees and the Politics of Living” Humanity, 2012; “Ad Hoc Humanity: Peacekeeping and the Limits of International Community in Gaza” American Anthropologist, 2010; “Gaza’s Humanitarianism Problem” Journal of Palestine Studies, 2009.

Jens Hanssen

Visiting Professor, Marburg University, May-June 2017; Associate Professor of Arab Civilization, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern history, University of Toronto, 2010-present (Assistant Professor, 2002-10).

Education: Oxford University: DPhil Modern History (2001), MPhil Oriental Studies (1995); Durham University: BA, Arabic & Islamic Studies (1993).

Service to Profession: MESA: Committee on Academic Freedom (2008-14); IJMES Editorial Board (2013-14); Nominating Committee (2009); Other Service (selected): Advisory Board member: Sijal School of Arabic Language and Culture in Amman (2014-present); the Jarislowsky Chair in the Modern History of the Middle East and North-West Africa at the University of Manitoba (2015-present); Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of Toronto (2014-present).

Awards and Grants (selected): Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Grant: “German-Jewish Echoes in 20th-Century Arabic Thought” (2014-19); pre-doctoral fellowships: American University of Beirut (1997-99); German Orient Institutes in Beirut (1998-99) and Istanbul (1996); La Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, Aix-en-Provence (1996); Skilleter Centre for Ottoman Research, Cambridge University, in Istanbul (1996).

Publications (selected): Monograph: Fin de Siècle Beirut (OUP, 2005); Translation and text edition: Nafir Suriyya, by Butrus al-Bustani (1860-61), (University of California Press, forthcoming 2018), with H. Safieddine; Co-edited volumes: Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda, including his chapter “Albert’s World: Historicism, Liberal Imperialism and the Struggle for Palestine, 1936-1948” (CUP, 2016) and Arabic Thought Against the Authoritarian Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Present (CUP, forthcoming 2017), both with M. Weiss; Handbook of Contemporary Middle Eastern and North African History (OUP, forthcoming 2018), with A. Ghazal; Empire in the City: Arab Provincial Capitals in the Late Ottoman Empire (Orient Institute Beirut, 2002) with S. Weber and T. Philipp; History, Space and Social Conflict in Beirut (Orient Institute Beirut, 2005, new ed. 2016) with R. Bodenstein et al.; Articles: “Malhamé – Malfamé: Levantine Elites and Trans-imperial Networks in the Late Ottoman Empire” (IJMES 2011); “Kafka and Arabs” (Critical Inquiry, 2014); “Translating Revolution: Hannah Arendt in Arab Political Culture” (, 2013); “Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar and Radical Press Culture: Toward an Intellectual History of the Contemporary Arab Left” Arab Studies Journal (2016), with H. Safieddine.


Sherene Seikaly

Associate Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2015-present (Assistant Professor, 2014-15); Assistant Professor of History, American University in Cairo, 2009-14; Director of the Middle East Studies Center, American University in Cairo, 2012-14.

Education: PhD, Joint History/Middle Eastern Studies, New York University, 2007; MA, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 2000; BA, Urban Studies and Anthropology, University of California, San Diego, 1993.

Service to Profession: MESA: CAF-MENA (2015-present); Nominating Committee (2016); Other Service: Editor, Arab Studies Journal (2014-present); Co-editor, Arab Studies Journal (2005-14); Co-founder and Editor, Jadaliyya ezine (2010-present); Editorial Board, Journal of Palestine Studies (2015-present); Editorial Committee, New Directions in Palestine Studies Series, University of California Press (2017-present); Board Member, Palestinian American Research Center, (2016-present); Board Member, Arab Studies Institute (2005-present); Elected Member, Letters and Sciences Faculty Executive Committee, UCSB, (2016-present).

Awards and Grants: Harold J. Plous Award, University of California Santa Barbara, 2016-17; Excellence in Teaching Award, American University in Cairo, 2014; Arab Council for Social Sciences Research Grant, 2013-15; Postdoctoral Fellowship, Europe in the Middle East-the Middle East in Europe Program, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2008-09; Qatar Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University, 2007-08; Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship, New York University, 2006-07; Dissertation Fellowship, International Center for Advanced Studies, New York University, 2006-07.

Publications: Books: Men of Capital: Economy and Scarcity in Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2016); Articles: “Men of Capital: Making Money, Making Nation in Palestine,” in Arabic Thought Beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda, eds. Jens Hanssen and Max Weiss. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016; “Bodies and Needs: Lesson from Palestine,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 46 (2014): 784-786; with Max Ajl, “Of Europe: Zionism and the Jewish Other,” in Europe after Derrida: Crisis and Potentiality, ed. Bora Isyar and Agnes Czajka. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013; “Return to the Present,” in Living Together, Jacques Derrida’s Communities of Peace and Violence, ed. Elisabeth Weber. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012; “Arab Businessmen Challenge the 1940s Status Quo,” Mediterraneans 14 (Spring 2010): 85-92; “All That Is Chic: Geography and Desire,” in Sharif Waked, Chic Point: Fashion for Israeli Checkpoints, 160-64. Tel Aviv: Andalus Publishing. Republished in Mizna: Prose, Poetry, and Art Exploring Arab America 9:1 (2007); “The Long Road Home,” in Arab and Arab-American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, and Belonging, eds.Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany, and Nadine Naber, 292-301. (2011) Syracuse University Press.

Nada Shabout

Professor of Art History, University of North Texas, Department of Art Education and Art History, College of Visual Arts and Design, 2014-present (Associate Professor, 2008-14; Assistant Professor, 2002-08); Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative, University of North Texas, Department of Art Education and Art History, College of Visual Arts and Design, 2008-present; Visiting Associate Professor, University of Jordan, College of Arts and Design, Fall 2008; Visiting Assistant Professor, MIT History, Theory and Criticism, Spring 2008.

Education: PhD, MA, Humanities, art history and criticism, University of Texas at Arlington, 1999; BFA, UT Arlington, 1988; Graduate Studies, Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, 1985-86; BSArch, UT Arlington, 1984; Architecture Program, New York Institute of Technology, 1980-82.

Service to Profession: MESA: Program Committee, 2017, 2010; Nominating Committee, 2015. Other Service: Founding President of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab world, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA), 2007-present; Board member, The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII), 2013-present; project director, Modern ArtIraq Archive, 2011-present; Consulting (Founding) Director, Research at Mathaf Doha 2012-2014; editorial committee, Middle East Research and Information Project, 2010-16.

Awards and Grants: NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants: The Open Modern Art Collection of Iraq, 2009; Fulbright Senior Scholar Program, Jordan 2007-08; The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII) fellow, 2006, 2007.

Publications: Books: Modern Art of the Arab World: Primary Documents, the International Program at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2017 (co-eds Lenssen and Rogers); New Vision: Arab Art in the 21st Century, Thames & Hudson, 2009 (co-eds Mikdadi); Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics, University of Florida Press, 2007. Selected Chapters: “Whose Space is it?” (IJMES) roundtable, production of public space. IJMES 46(1) – February 2014; “Bifurcations of Iraq's Visual Culture,” in Nadje al-Ali et al, eds, We are All Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War, Syracuse University Press 2012; “Images and Status: Visualizing Iraqi Women,” in Faegheh Shirazi, ed., Muslim Women in War and Crisis: from Reality to Representation, University of Texas Press 2010; “Preservation of Iraqi Modern Heritage in the Aftermath of the US Invasion of 2003,” in Levin and King, eds., An anthology on Ethics in the Art World, Allworth Press 2006.

Exhibition: Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art (co-curated), Interventions: A dialogue between the Modern and the Contemporary, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, 2010. Modernism and Iraq, Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, 2009 (with Bahrani); Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, 2005-09.

Candidates for Student Member of the Board of Directors

Omar Sirri

Omar Zahzah

Omar Sirri

PhD Student, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto.

Education: MSc, Middle East Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 2012; BA, Political Science and International Relations, University of British Columbia, 2007.

Service to Profession: Managing Editor, Middle East Law and Governance Journal (MELG), 2015-present.

Awards and Grants: Research Travel Bursary, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 2016, 2015; Research Travel Grant, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto, 2016; Less-Commonly Taught Language Award (LCTL), Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Toronto, 2016, 2015; Conference Travel Grant, Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), 2014; Conference Research Travel Grant, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, 2014; Summer School Travel Bursary, European Academy Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC), 2014; Doctoral Student Fellowship (five years), Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, 2013.

Publications: “BDS in a Time of Precarity: Graduate Students, Untenured Faculty and Solidarity with Palestine,” Middle East Report, Winter 2016; “Dividing a Nation: The Politics of Constitution Making in Iraq,” Middle East Law and Governance, 6, no. 3: 2014; “Bahrain: Civil Society and Political Imagination” (with Jane Kinninmont), Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs, October 2014; “Iraq on the International Stage: Foreign Policy and National Identity in Transition” (with Jane Kinninmont and Gareth Stansfield), Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs, July 2013; “Iraq Ten Years On” (with Jane Kinninmont and Claire Spencer), Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs, May 2013.

Presentations: “Hey you, precarious worker: Are you afraid of BDS? Graduate students, untenured faculty and the politics of political commitments” (panel organizer and participant), Middle East Studies Association, Boston, MA, November 2016; “We, the (absent) Iraqi People: The politics of constitution making in Iraq,” Middle East Studies Association, Denver, CO, November 2015; “As if in Manama: Real-time exile, new diaspora politics, and living Bahrain abroad,” The Arab Uprising: Researching the Revolutions (conference), Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), Amman, Jordan, September 2014; “The race of ethics and the ethics of race,” Graduate Student Seminar Series, Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto, April 2014.

Omar Zahzah

PhD Student, Comparative Literature, Department of Comparative Literature, University of California, Los Angeles.

Education: BA, Comparative World Literature and Classics/English: Creative Writing, California State University, 2011.

Awards and Grants: Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Summer 2013; Graduate Research Summer Mentorship Fellowship, (UCLA), Summer 2015; Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship, (UCLA), 2016 academic year; 2017 Comparative Literature Departmental Summer Award (UCLA).

Publications: “At Home in Diaspora: Mapping Affiliation in Syrine Hout’s Postwar Anglophone Lebanese Fiction.” H-Levant, H-Net Reviews. April 2016.

Presentations: American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) Conference, “Orienting the Orient in the Work of Edgar Allan Poe,” New York University, New York, NY March 2014; “Discourse in Praxis: Political Struggle as the Living Site of Representational Delimitation,” Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting, November 2016, Boston, MA.

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