Visiting Scholars & Fellows
Mahdi Visiting Research Fellow (Spring 2017)
Dr. Ziaka (Ph.D., University of Strasbourg, 2002) is Associate Professor of Religion and the scientific coordinator of the new Undergraduate Program on Islamic Studies at the School of Theology of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and visiting professor at the Schools of Political Science and Education. She studied at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome, the History Department of the Royal University of Amman, and has conducted research in Iran and Oman since 2006. Dr. Ziaka was a LUCIS Fall Fellow in 2014 (Leiden University Centre for the study of Islam and Society).
Her interests include early and medieval Islamic historiography and Kalam; Byzantine and post-Byzantine literature on Islam; religious historical narratives and the rearticulating of Muslim identities through religious discourse and political realities in the Middle East, especially the Shi‘a and Ibadi Islam; interreligious dialogue and Religious Education in religious and secular environments and institutions. Dr. Ziaka’s current research focuses on the Philosophy of Ibāḍī Kalam (Βrill forthcoming) as well as the Political Messianism in Shi‘i Islam.
Her publications include La Recherche Grecque contemporaine et l’Islam (Strasbourg 2002 / Lille, 2004); Shi‘ism. Religious and Political Dimensions in the Middle East (Thessaloniki, 2004, in Greek); Between Polemics and Dialogue: Byzantine, Post Byzantine and Contemporary Greek Literature on Islam (Thessaloniki, 2010, in Greek); Interreligious Dialogue: The Meeting of Christianity with Islam (Thessaloniki, 2010, in Greek); Early Islamic Apocalyptic and Messianic Movements: Mahdi the Eschatological Savior (Thessaloniki, 2011, in Greek); Οn Ibadism (Hildesheim/N.Y., 2014); Kalam and the Islamic Trends of Thought (Thessaloniki, 2016, in Greek).
Carnegie Centennial Fellow (Fall 2016)
Dr. Sara Ababneh is Assistant Professor at the University of Jordan’s Center for Strategic Studies. After receiving a BSc in Politics and Economics from Earlham College in Indiana and an MScEcon in International Politics from the University of Wales, Aberystywth, Dr. Ababneh earned her DPhil in Politics and International Relations from the St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford in 2010. Her dissertation topic focused on female Islamists in Hamas in occupied Palestine and the Islamic Action Front in Jordan.
Dr. Ababneh has conducted research on Mandate Palestine, gender and Islamism, and labor movements. Her research interests include class, gender and struggles for liberation and change. Her other journal publications include “Troubling the Political: Women in the Jordanian Day-Waged Labor Movement,” published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies (2016), “The Palestinian Women’s Movement vs. Hamas: Attempting to Understand Women’s Empowerment outside a Feminist Framework”, published in the Journal of International Women’s Studies (2014), and “Islamic Political Activism as a Means of Women's Empowerment? The Case of the Female IAF Activists”, published in Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism (2009).
Currently, Dr. Ababneh studies the popular Jordanian protest movement (al-Hirak al-Sha‘bi al-Urduni). Dr. Ababneh joins us this fall as the Carnegie Centennial Fellow and will be working on finishing the first draft of her book on the Hirak. The Carnegie Centennial Fellowship program makes available scholar mobility fellowships to support social scientists from the Arab region to spend up to 6 months at select U.S. universities. The Middle East Institute has previously hosted three other Carnegie Centennial fellows.
Mahdi Visiting Research Fellow (Fall 2016)
Dr. Abdulrahman al-Salmi is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Al-Tafahom (Tolerance/Understanding) and an Omani expert on ancient Islamic manuscripts. He has authored numerous books including Early Ibadi Literature; Early Ibadi Theology; and Islamic Art in Oman. Dr. al-Salmi has taught Islamic studies at the Institute of Shariah Sciences in Muscat.
Dr. al-Salmi joins us this fall as the Mahdi Visiting Research Fellow and will be working on an edition of a hitherto unpublished old commentary of the Qur’an by the prominent 5th/11th century Mu’tazili scholar, al-Hakim al-Jushami (d. 494/1100). He will give two lectures on the importance of this commentary and on the methodology he adopts for producing an authoritative edition of it. The book will be published next year in ten volumes.
Visiting Scholar (Fall 2016)
Dr. Rahemtulla serves as Assistant Professor at the University of Jordan’s School of International Studies, where he leads courses on Islam, human rights, and qualitative research methods. An Indo-Canadian Muslim, Dr. Shadaab Rahemtulla received his doctorate in Islamic thought at the University of Oxford in 2013. Dr. Rahemtulla also holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in History from Simon Fraser University; a Master of Arts in Near and Middle East Civilizations from the University of Toronto. His book entitled Qur’an of the Oppressed: Liberation Theology and Gender Justice in Islam (forthcoming from Oxford University Press) explores how contemporary Muslim thinkers have read and grappled with the Qur’an in the light of lived realities of marginalization, engaging questions of race, gender, class and pluralism.
Visiting Scholar (Academic Year 2016-2017)
Dr. Kathryn Spellman Poots is Associate Professor at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations in the United Kingdom. She earned her MSc and PhD in Politics and Sociology from Birkbeck College, University of London. Her research interests include Muslims in Europe and North America; the Iranian diaspora; transnational migration networks; and gender and religion in the Middle East and North Africa. Her publications include the monograph: Religion and Nation: Iranian Local and Transnational Networks in Britain (Berghahn, Oxford and New York) as well as the edited volumes: The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond (Edinburgh University Press); and Ethnographies of Islam: Ritual Performances and Everyday Practices (Edinburgh University Press). She consults for organisations focusing on the rights and experiences of refugees and minority groupings, including the UNHRC (Geneva), UNESCO (Paris), UK Foreign Office, US State Department, German Foreign Office, and the London Detainee Support Group.