2020 MESA Election

MESA is pleased to present the candidates in the 2020 Election of Officers. Click on the candidate’s name to go to their statement and biography. Voting deadline is Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., Mountain Standard Time. You may vote electronically by completing the ballot at the bottom of this page. If you would like to vote by mail, request one from Sara Palmer at sara@mesana.org.

Eligibility: Only Full members (Honorary Fellows, Fellows, and Students) are eligible to vote. This is your opportunity to have a say in the direction of your association. One vote per eligible voting member is allowed. You must be a current MESA member to vote; your membership status will be verified.

New: The MESA Board of Directors requested that candidates standing for election write a statement about why they have decided to run, and what they would bring to the position in terms of priorities should they be elected.

Please note that there is one candidate for President-Elect this year, due to the unexpected withdrawal of the other nominated candidate on the ballot. After the second candidate withdrew belatedly for personal reasons, the Nominating Committee approached a number of additional nominees, unfortunately none of whom were able to accept the Committee’s nomination. The Committee then reconvened to nominate a second, supplementary list of candidates, who likewise were unable to run this year. We would like to thank the Nominating Committee for their extraordinary efforts in these uncertain times.

Candidates for President-Elect

Click on name to go to the biography. On the ballot you will vote for no more than 1. 

Camron Michael Amin

Eve Troutt Powell
University of Pennsylvania


eve troutt powell

Candidate Statement: I have been a member of MESA since 1986, and this organization has been a vital part of my education, maturation and community in Middle East Studies. MESA has helped me to find mentors and colleagues, and also to engage with and learn from students and young scholars; for this I will always consider MESA my intellectual home. 

MESA and the Middle East have passed through many momentous passages since I first joined 34 years ago. We now find ourselves in an unparalleled historical moment. COVID-19 has altered our lives, our families and our research, and its economic impact will make the academic job market even more tenuous. Activists and protesters have risen across the US and the world against the murder at police hands of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African-Americans with a unified energy unparalleled since the 1960s.  We live in a time when Black Lives must Matter, when reckoning with race can no longer elude us. These days compel us to broaden our perspectives, our boundaries and our discussion of race, not only in the US and Europe, but also in the many countries from which MESA members come. Blackness speaks in different languages and comes in different shades. Blackness is experienced, witnessed, perceived, and valued, differently. In our MESA, it can no longer be ignored. 

As president of MESA, I would commit to broadening our membership beyond a handful of members who identify as Black and as Brown. I would work towards extending the boundaries of our intellectual imaginations to Sudan, South Sudan, and to discussions of race in the Maghreb, the Gulf, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, the Middle East and East Africa. I would actively seek out a stronger relationship not only with the African Studies Association but also with the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), and find ways in which more MESA members find fluency in racial matters that affect us all.  

We are losing younger Black scholars who feel that MESA is an intentionally non-Black organization that does not welcome scholars of color. I know this need not be our future. We have more intellectual breadth and generosity than that. I am determined to walk with MESA in this tunnel of terrible times towards a richer, more multifaceted light. 

Positions: Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor, History and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania, (2014-present); Associate Dean of Graduate Education, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, (2013-2018); Professor, History and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania (2013-2014); Associate Professor, History and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania (2006-2013); Associate Professor, History, The University of Georgia (1995-2005).

Education: Ph.D., Harvard University, Center for Middle East Studies (History) (1995); B.A., Harvard University, History and Literature (France and America) (1983).

Service to Profession: MESA: Program Committee (2019); Editorial Board, International Journal of Middle East Studies (2009-2014); Board Member (2008-2011); Dissertation Award Committee (2007); Nominating Committee (2004); Nominating Committee (2001). Other: Member of the Board, World Council on Middle East Studies, (2004-2007); Programming Committee, American Historical Association, (2005); Manuscript Reviewer for University of California Press, Lynne Rienner Press, University of Florida Press, Yale University Press, Cambridge University Press, Stanford University Press. 

Awards and Grants: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected as member, (2020); Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies Fellow (2005-2006); MacArthur Foundation Fellow (2003-2008); Center for Arabic Studies Abroad, Faculty Program (CASA III) (2004); Sudan Studies Association Merit Award (2004); Center for Humanities Research Fellowship, The University of Georgia (2003); Institute for Advanced Studies Fellow, School of Social Sciences, Princeton (1999-2000). 

Publications: Books: Tell This in my Memory: Stories of Enslavement in Egypt, Sudan and the Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press, 2012); A Different Shade of Colonialism: Egyptian Nationalists and the Mastery of the Sudan, 1875-1925, (University of California Press, 2003); The Same but Different: Documents on African Slavery in the Islamic Mediterranean (19th-20th Centuries), Eds. John Hunwick and Eve M. Troutt Powell, (Markus Wiener Press, Inc., 2002); Articles and Chapters: “Training Slaves for the Camera: Race and Memory in Representations of Slaves, Cairo and Khartoum, 1882-1892” in Fashioning the Modern Middle East, eds. Reina Lewis and Yasmine Taan, (Bloomsbury Press, forthcoming); “Bodies Captured on Film: Photographing Sudanese Slaves in the early 20th century,” The Ashgate Research Companion to Modern Imperial Histories, eds. Philippa Levine and John Marriott (2012); “Sudan in Theaters near You: The Visual Culture of Intervention”, Critical Interventions, V (Fall, 2009); “Translating Slavery”, part of As I Read It series in International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 39, no. 2, April 2007; “Will that Subaltern Ever Speak? Finding African Slaves in the Historiography of the Middle East” in Narrating History: Histories and Historiographies of the Twentieth-Century Middle East, eds. Israel Gershoni, Amy Singer and Hakan Erdem (University of Washington Press, 2006).


Candidates for Board of Directors

Click on name to go to the biography. On the ballot you will vote for no more than 2.

Ziad Abu-Rish

Ziad Abu-Rish
Bard College

Anthony Alessandrini

Anthony Alessandrini
Kingsborough Community


Ghenwa Hayek

Ghenwa Hayek
University of Chicago


Asli Igsiz

Aslı Iğsız
New York University


Ziad abu-rish

Candidate Statement: MESA is an invaluable resource for scholars, teachers, and others committed to Middle East studies. Its meetings, awards, and publications build community and produce knowledge. Its statements and initiatives advance the collective interest of our members. It is my primary academic association, go-to annual conference, and my reference for professional developments. MESA is a collective and collaborative effort that in the last decade has been at the forefront of many core issues of our time. I have been honored to learn from those efforts. As a board member I would work to support the organization’s longstanding mission and activities as well as support it in a rapidly changing context, including the volatile landscape of US higher education and the shifting terrain of researching and teaching the Middle East. I look forward to contributing directly to the difficult but urgent work MESA does in empowering members and advocating on their behalf.

Positions: Co-Director of M.A., Human Rights and the Arts; Visiting Associate Professor, Human Rights, Bard College (2020-Present); Assistant Professor, History; Founding Director of Middle East and North Africa Studies Certificate Program, Ohio University (2014–20).

Education: Ph.D., History, UCLA (2014); M.A., Arab Studies, Georgetown University (2005); B.A., History, Whitman College (2001).

Service to Profession: MESA: Nominating Committee (2019); Organizer, Professional Development Workshops (2013–14); Graduate Student Representative, Board of Directors (2012–13). Other: Board Member, Lebanese Studies Association (2018–2020); Co-Editor, Arab Studies Journal (2020–Present); Senior Editor, Arab Studies Journal (2014–2020); Co-Editor, Jadaliyya (2010–Present); Co-Director, Lebanon Dissertation Summer Institute (2016–Present); Member, Preparatory Committee for 5th Conference of the Arab Council for Social Sciences (2020–21); External reviewer for various journals, including International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies.

Awards and Grants: Humanities Faculty Teaching Award, College of Arts & Sciences, Ohio University (2018); Outstanding New Tutor Award, Honors Tutorial College, Ohio University (2017).

Publications: Books/Chapters: With Bassam Haddad and Rosie Bsheer (eds.), The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of An Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012); “Lebanon beyond Exceptionalism,” in A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa, ed. Joel Beinin, Sherene Seikaly, and Bassam Haddad (Stanford University Press, Forthcoming); “Keeping Current: Contemporary Engagement and Teaching Middle East History,” in Understanding and Teaching the Modern Middle East, ed. Omnia El Shakry (University of Wisconsin Press, Forthcoming); “Protest, Regime Stability, and State Formation in Jordan,” in Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruing Bargain in the Middle East, ed. Mehran Kamrava (Oxford University Press, 2014). Articles: “The Middle East Survey Course: Challenges and Opportunities,” Review of Middle East Studies, 51, no. 1 (February 2017); “Municipal Politics in Lebanon,” Middle East Report 280 (2016); “Garbage Politics,” Middle East Report 277 (2015).


Anthony Alessandrini

Candidate Statement: I write as a youth movement against racialized U.S. state violence grows by the day, even amidst the continuing pandemic. I’m honored and humbled to be nominated at such a moment, given MESA’s ongoing public work to address and transform some of the most important intellectual and political conversations of our time. My goal is to continue this commitment to scholarship and teaching that stretches our collective political imagination and contributes to social justice and liberation. Coming from an urban public community college, I’m particularly committed to seeing MESA’s work reach a wider audience. Disciplines like ours too often reside only in “elite” institutions; in our age of austerity, we are deemed “luxuries” unnecessary for poor students. But this generation fighting for justice needs and wants the historical, theoretical, internationalist perspective disciplines like ours provide. I want to fight to make sure they get to be part of our conversation. 

Positions: Professor, English, Kingsborough Community College-CUNY (2005-Present); Professor, Middle Eastern Studies, CUNY Graduate Center (2014-present); Associate Faculty, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (2015-present). 

Education: Ph.D., Literatures in English & Graduate Certificate, Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University (2000).

Service to Profession: MESA: Nominating Committee (2019). Other: Co-Editor, Jadaliyya E-Zine (2010-present); Committee on Globalization & Social Change, CUNY Graduate Center (2013-present); Executive Committee, MLA Forum on West Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (2016-present); Executive Committee, Program in Middle Eastern Studies, CUNY Graduate Center (2017-present); Co-Convener, International Solidarity Action Research Network (2018-present). 

Awards and Grants: Canadian Social Science & Humanities Research Council Connection Grant (2019); CUNY Distinguished Scholar, Advanced Research Collaborative (2019); Writer-in-Residence, Birkbeck Centre for Law & the Humanities, University of London (2019); Chancellor’s Research Fellowship (2015); Mellon Faculty Fellowship (2008-09, 2011-12).

Publications: Frantz Fanon and the Future of Cultural Politics: Finding Something Different (2014); editor, Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives (1999); co-editor, “Resistance Everywhere”: The Gezi Protests and Dissident Visions of Turkey (2013); “Frantz Fanon,” Oxford Bibliographies in Literary and Critical Theory (2017); “Foucault, Fanon, Intellectuals, Revolutions,” Critical Horizons: The Postcolonial Contemporary (2018); “The Arab Spring 2011,” The Encyclopedia of Postcolonial Studies (2016); “The Egyptian Revolution and the Problem of International Solidarity,” Revolutionary Egypt: Connecting Domestic and International Struggles (2015); “‘Enough of This Scandal’: Reading Gilroy through Fanon, or Who Comes After ‘Race’?” Retrieving the Human: Reading Paul Gilroy (2014); “Palestine in Scare Quotes: From the NYT Grammar Book” & “On Being ‘Wrong’ on Iraq,” Mediating the Arab Uprisings (2013); “The Violation of the Global Anti-War Movement,” Irak Dunya Makhmesi (2005); “‘No Right to Judge,’” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development (2019); “Hümanizm ve Ötekileri,” Sabah Ülkesi (2016); “Their Fight Is Our Fight: Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, and New Modes of Solidarity Today,” Social Text: Periscope (2012); “Edward Said’s Legacy,” Arab Studies Journal (2012); “Fanon Now: Singularity and Solidarity,” Journal of Pan African Studies (2011); “‘Toute décolonisation est une réussite’: Les damnés de la terre Fifty Years On,” Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy (2011); “Frantz Fanon, Jamaica Kincaid, and the Futures of Postcolonial Literature,” Journal of Postcolonial Writing (2010); “The Humanism Effect: Fanon, Foucault, and Ethics Without Subjects,” Foucault Studies (2009); “Darwish’s Revenants,” Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture (2009); “The New State of Poetics,” Arab Studies Journal (2006); “Blow Up,” Arab Studies Journal (2006).


Ghenwa Hayek

Candidate Statement: If elected as a member of MESA’s board, I hope to work with my colleagues to support MESA’s ongoing intellectual extensions into different subjects, topics, and geographies as they relate to the Middle East, particularly in the areas of the visual arts, cinema, and theater. I would also like to continue to expand MESA’s collaborations with activist organizations working on social justice issues in both the US and Middle East, as well as its advocacy of issues of academic and professional freedom in the region.

Positions: Associate Professor, Modern Arabic Literature, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago (2019-Present); Assistant Professor, Modern Arabic Literature, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago (2015-2019); Assistant Professor, Arabic, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Claremont McKenna College (2012-2015); Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT (2011-2012); Instructor, Rhode Island School of Design (2008); Instructor, Civilization Studies/English Departments, American University of Beirut (2001-2003), (2006-2008). 

Education: Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Brown University (2011); M.A., Comparative Literature, Brown University (2006); M.A., Twentieth Century Literature, University of Leeds (2001); B.A., English Literature, American University of Beirut (2000).

Service to Profession: MESA: Program Committee (2020); Panel Chair at many conferences, (2010-2020); RoMES Associate Editor (2017-Present). Other: H-Levant Book Editor (2015-2018); Member, Arabic Executive Committee, Modern Languages Association (2015-2019); Delegate Assembly, Modern Languages Association (2015-2018); Manuscript Reviewer, IJMES, Mashriq/Mahjar, PMLA, Comparative Literary Studies, Novel, Comparative Literature, Journal of Arabic Literature, Middle Eastern Literatures, Cambridge University Press

Awards and Grants: (with Omar Khouri and Fadi Baki (the fdz), Grant for “Revisioning Histories, Envisioning Futures: Redrawing the Arab World”, Gray Center for the Arts and Inquiry (2019); Khayrallah Prize in Middle East Diaspora Studies for “Carrying Africa, Becoming Lebanese” (2015).

Publications: Books: Beirut, Imagining the City: Space and Place in Lebanese Literature (IB Tauris, 2015) Selected Articles: “Where To? Filming Emigration Anxiety in Prewar Lebanese Cinema," International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol 51:2, pp. 183-201 (2019); “Everyday Writing in an Extraordinary City," The City in Arabic Literature, ed. Gretchen Head and Nizar Hermes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 287-305 (2018); “Whitewashing Race for Global Consumption: Translating Race in The Story of Zahra," Middle Eastern Literatures, Vol 20:1, pp. 91-104 (2017); “Making Ordinary: Recuperating the Everyday in Post-2005 Beirut Novels," Arab Studies Journal, Vol. XXV.1, pp.8-28 (2017); “Carrying Africa, Becoming Lebanese: Diasporic Middleness in Lebanese Fiction," Diasporas and Cultures of Mobilities, Eds. Sarah Barbour et al, Montpellier, France: (PULM), pp.99-114 (2015); “Experimental Female Fictions; Or, The Brief Wondrous Life of the Nahḍa Sensation Story," Middle Eastern Literatures. Vol. 16.3, pp. 249-265 (2013); “Rabī‘ Jābir’s Bayrūt trilogy: Recovering an Obscured Urban History," Journal of Arabic Literature, 42.2-3, pp. 183-204 (2011).


Aslı Iğsız

Candidate Statement: Middle East Studies is going through a challenging period as developments in the Middle East (broadly defined), as well as those in the US, increasingly threaten both academic freedom and access to archives, field work, and scholarly exchange for many of us studying the region whether from within it or from outside. These dynamics are symptomatic of larger problems, which we also seek to address in our work. At this time, MESA is more important than ever as an association that expresses scholarly solidarity, acts to defend the individual and collective career trajectories of those in the field and provides a forum for us to present work and engage in scholarly exchange despite the many challenges. This is the perspective through which I hope to contribute to the Board. I have long served on the CAFMENA to support the work of the Association and would be honored to have the opportunity to also serve on its Board.

Positions: Associate Professor, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University (2019-present); Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, New York University (2012-2019); Assistant Professor, Turkish Studies, University of Arizona (2009-2012); Visiting Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada (2007-2009).

Education: Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2007); M.A., Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1999); M.A., French Literature, Hacettepe University (1996); B.A., Boğaziçi University (1993).

Service to Profession: MESA: CAFMENA (2012-present). Other: Nominations Committee, Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (2010-2013 & 2018-present); Editorial Board, Critical Multilingualism Studies, An Interdisciplinary Journal (2012-to present); Advisory Board, Mülkiye Dergisi, Critical Social Sciences Journal, Ankara University (2013-present); Co-Editor, Jadaliyya Turkey Page (2015-present). 

Awards and Grants (Selected): Collaborative Grant, Confluence: Center for Creative Inquiry, University of Arizona (2011-2012); Postdoctoral Fellowship in International Humanities (Mediterranean Studies), Brown University (declined) (2009-2011); Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, EUME, Institute for Advanced Study, Working Group, Modernity and Islam, Free University of Berlin (declined) (2007-2008); Václav Havel Dissertation Award, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2002-2003); Fellow, Summer Academy in Beirut, Lebanon, Institute for Advanced Study, Modernity and Islam, Free University of Berlin and American University in Beirut (2006); Graduate Fellow, Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2004-2005); Fellow, Summer Academy in Alexandria, Egypt, Institute for Advanced Study, Working Group Modernity and Islam, Free University of Berlin and the Swedish Institute (2004); Dissertation Research Fellowship, American Research Institute in Turkey (Summer 2003); Mitchell Award, Outstanding Student from the Middle East, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1998).

Publications (Selected): Books: Humanism in Ruins: Entangled Legacies of the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange (Stanford University Press, 2018) Articles and Chapters: “Refugee Trajectories: Post-1945 Refugee Management and the Implications of Demography” in Refugee Routes, eds. Vanessa Agnew, Jane Newman, and Kader Konuk (forthcoming 2020); “Logics of Crisis Resonate in Academe: Perspectives from the Post-1945 Era to Contemporary Turkey.” Trajectories: ASA Comparative and Historical Sociology (2018); “Palimpsests of Multiculturalism and ‘Museumization of Culture’: The Greek-Turkish Population Exchange Museum as an Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Project.” Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (2015); “From Alliance of Civilizations to Branding the Nation: Turkish Studies, Image Wars, and Politics of Comparison in an Age of Neoliberalism,” Turkish Studies (2014); “Brand Turkey and the Gezi Protests: Authoritarianism, Law, and Neoliberalism,” Jadaliyya (2013) and in Resistance Everywhere: The Gezi Protests and Dissidence Everywhere, eds. Anthony Alessandrini, Emrah Yıldız and Nazan Üstündağ (Tadween, 2014).

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