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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Graduate Student Profiles

Photo of Dena Afrasiabi

Dena Afrasiabi

Graduate student

dena_afrasiabi@yahoo.com  |  FAC 27

Education   

Ph.D. in Persian Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Second Language Acquisition, Teaching Persian as a Second Language

Photo of Lameese Ahmad

Lameese Ahmad

Graduate student

Mona Alshihry

Graduate student

malshihry@hotmail.com

Interests

  Arabic Dialectology, Arabian Peninsula, Pedagogy, Sociolinguistics of the Arab world

Photo of Ahmad Aminpour

Ahmad Aminpour

Graduate student

mardincan@gmail.com

Education   

PhD, The University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  modern political and intellectual history of Iran, Iraq, and the Kurds

Niaz Aziz

Graduate Student

niazmuhsen@yahoo.com

Interests

  Pragmatics, Sociolinguistics, Discourse Analysis, Linguistics in Arabic and Kurdish Languages.

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Mitchell Bacci

Graduate student

Photo of Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker

Graduate student

slbaker@utexas.edu  |  CAL 5

Education   

B.A. in Biblical Studies and English Language and Literature, Gordon College. M.A. in The Bible and Its World, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Ph.D. student in Hebrew Bible/Ancient Near East, The University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Biblical Hebrew, linguistics, comparative Semitics, language pedagogy

Photo of Nesrine Basheer

Nesrine Basheer

Graduate student

nbasheer@utexas.edu

Education   

PhD Candidate, MA in Applied Linguistics, Columbia University; BA in English Language and Literature, Ain Shams University

Interests

  Language assessment; Pedagogy; Language performance; Dialects; Arabic forensic linguistics

Kirsten Beck

Ph.D. Candidate

kirstenbeck17@gmail.com

Education   

Ph.D. in Arabic Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Arabic Literature (Modern and Classical), Mental Health Issues

Photo of William Bibee

William Bibee

Graduate student

bibee@utexas.edu  |  WAG 14AC

Education   

Ph.D., BA in Plan2, Classics and Linguistics, UT Austin. Ph.D in Biblical Hebrew at UT Austin.

Interests

  IE and Semitic linguistics, Aegean Bronze Age scripts, general historical linguistics and linguistic contact, religion in the ancient world, writing systems, cultural contact in the Bronze Age

Photo of Øyvind Bjøru

Øyvind Bjøru

Graduate student

bjoeru@utexas.edu

Interests

  Comparative Semitics, Historical Linguistics, Biblical Hebrew, Arabic, Amharic

Photo of Weston Bland

Weston Bland

Graduate student

weston821@utexas.edu

Interests

  Minority politics, identity politics, identity construction, nationalism, citizenship, Coptic history, Ismailism; modern Egypt and Lebanon

Jessica Boggs

Graduate Student

jessica@austin.utexas.edu

Education   

BA, University of Tulsa

Interests

  Political history of Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements, Modern Politics of the Middle East, Leftist Movements

Photo of Camille Bossut

Camille Bossut

Graduate student

bossut.ca@utexas.edu

Education   

M.A. Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  French colonization of the Middle East, Lebanese war literature, Levantine Arabic

Photo of Kevin Butts

Kevin Butts

Graduate student

Adam Cameron

Graduate student

adamdcameron@gmail.com  |  Wherever there be donuts

Interests

  Language and culture, interactional identity, Iranian religious minorities, Persian language, refugee and migration issues, life histories, linguistic anxiety, Nicecore

Claire Cooley

Graduate student

cooley@utexas.edu  |  United States

Interests

  Egyptian Cinema, Iranian Cinema, Visual Culture, New Media and Activism, Modern Arabic Literature

Willis Cumming

Graduate student

Priscilla Cunha

Graduate student

pcunha@utexas.edu

Education   

BA in Near Eastern Studies, Linguistics, German Studies, Cornell University

Interests

  Applied Linguistics, Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language, Teaching Culture

Photo of Steven Damiano

Steven Damiano

Graduate student

Steven_Damiano@utexas.edu

Interests

  Good governance initiatives, public program evaluation, Afghan and Iranian politics, and Persian language and politics

Okan Dogan

Graduate student

Interests

  Fiqh Al Aqalliyyat (The Jurisprudence of Minorities), Quranic Exegesis, Hadith, Muslim-Christian Relations

Photo of Emilie Durand-Zuniga

Emilie Durand-Zuniga

Ph.D. Candidate / Assistant Instructor

emiliezuniga@utexas.edu  |  512-471-3881 (general)  |  CAL 528

Education   

Ph.D. in Arabic Linguistics, UT-Austin

Interests

  Sociophonetics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, pedagogy

Paul Edgar

Graduate student

Photo of Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards

Ph.D. Candidate

anthony.edwards@utexas.edu

Interests

  Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language (TAFL), Classical Arabic Grammar & Lexicography, the Arab Nahḍa

Itay Eisinger

Graduate student

Photo of Radwa El Barouni

Radwa El Barouni

Graduate student

Norah Elamir

Graduate student

Photo of Mahyar Entezari

Mahyar Entezari

Ph.D. Candidate

entezari@utexas.edu  |  (215) 573-6147

Education   

BA in German Studies, University of California, San Diego — MA in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin — PhD in Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures, University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Languages, literatures, and cinemas of Persianate societies

Photo of Ryan Fan

Ryan Fan

Graduate Student / Assistant Instructor

ryanfan@utexas.edu

Interests

  Egyptian Sign Language, Language Contact, Arabic Dialectology, TAFL

Gayle Fischer

Graduate student

Photo of Laura Fish

Laura Fish

Graduate student

laurafish@utexas.edu

Education   

BA in Near Eastern Studies, Cornell University ------ MA in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Iranian Cinema; Film Noir; Persian language teaching

Photo of Anna Gibson

Anna Gibson

Graduate student

amgibson1026@gmail.com

Education   

B.A., Middle Eastern Studies / Conflict and Security Studies, The George Washington University
Photo of John Gloer

John Gloer

Graduate student

johngloer@utexas.edu

Interests

  Arabic Language, Finance, Islamic law, faith healing in the Arab world, Arab-Islamic perceptions of psychosis

Photo of Sophia Golvach

Sophia Golvach

Graduate student

sgolvach@utexas.edu  |  7132087610  |  United States

Education   

B.A. Dartmouth College, Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic; Current J.D. student at The University of Texas School of Law, current M.A. student in Middle Eastern Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Interests

  Shariah in global commercial and human rights settings. Nationalisms and constitution-forming in the Middle East and North Africa. Faith healing for individuals with developmental disorders. Arabic language.

Photo of Katherine Goodin

Katherine Goodin

Graduate student

kgoodin@utexas.edu

Education   

B.A., Brown University

Interests

  Arabic literature, Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language, translation studies and Egyptian culture and dialect

Photo of Rachel Green

Rachel Green

Graduate student

rachel.green@utexas.edu

Education   

Ph.D. in Comparative Middle Eastern Literatures, University of Texas at Austin;, M.A., University of Texas at Austin in Comparative Middle Eastern Literatures; B.A., University of Chicago in Comparative Literature and NELC

Interests

  Empathy, translation and affect in Arabic, Hebrew, and Francophone literatures; dialect, language standardization and cultural memory; literature and language pedagogy

Photo of Shehnaz Haqqani

Shehnaz Haqqani

Graduate student

shaqqani@utexas.edu

Education   

MA, University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Gender issues, Islamic law, Pashtun migration, Diasporic Islam, Islamic feminist hermeneutics, Female religious authority in Islam, Muslim Televangelism

Reem Harb

Graduate student

Seerwan Haruti

Graduate student

Patrick Higgins

Graduate student

higginspat@hotmail.com

Education   

BA, Honors Journalism, Wayne State University

Interests

  Animal-human relationships and animal history of the Middle East; piracy in Islamic societies; syncretism in Islam; Shi'i rituals and symbols, particularly in modern Lebanon; political and intellectual history of modern Palestine; Middle East politics.

Photo of Kelly Houck

Kelly Houck

Graduate student

kellylhouck@gmail.com

Education   

B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies & French, College of William and Mary

Interests

  Iranian Cinema, urban planning, issues related to children such as children's health, child labor, and orphans of war.

Jennifer Hunt

Graduate student

jennifer.hunt504@gmail.com  |  9857686406

Education   

B.A. in History & Women's Studies, Loyola University New Orleans

Interests

  Contemporary Iranian history, Iranian women’s history, contemporary Iranian women’s literature, trauma studies, biographical material, identity formation and politics, modernity studies, gender theory, and feminist philosophy

Photo of Paige Ingram

Paige Ingram

Graduate student

paigeingram@utexas.edu

Education   

M.A. Middle Eastern Studies - Dual Language Track, The University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Islam in America and Europe, Modern Middle Eastern Political History

Photo of Philip Issa

Philip Issa

Graduate student

Photo of Canan Kaba

Canan Kaba

Graduate student

canan@utexas.edu

Photo of Sarah Kaiser-Cross

Sarah Kaiser-Cross

Graduate student

sarahkaisercross@gmail.com  |  United States

Interests

  Modern Middle Eastern Politics, Political Mobilization, Revolutions, the Arab Spring, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Photo of Benjamin Kantor

Benjamin Kantor

Graduate student

bpkantor@utexas.edu  |  CAL 5

Interests

  Biblical Hebrew, Historical Hebrew, Hebrew Reading Traditions, Medieval Hebrew Grammarians, Comparative Semitics, Arabic, Comparing Biblical/Arabic Literature, Koine Greek, Biblical Greek

Tynan Kelley

Graduate student

Photo of Sigrid K. Kjær

Sigrid K. Kjær

Graduate student

s.k.kjaer@utexas.edu

Interests

  Hebrew Bible, Old Testament Exegesis, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Nabataean-Aramaic, Old South Arabian, Ancient North Arabian, Cultural Contact, pre-Islamic Arabia, Comparative Semitics.

Elliot Klosterman

Graduate student

Elliot.Klosterman@utexas.edu  |  9372725409

Interests

  Modern Political and Security Affairs of Levant Region; Revolution, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Alexander Kreger

Graduate student

moyindau@gmail.com

Education   

Middle Eastern Studies, UT Austin

Saffiya Latif

Graduate student

Thomas Leddy-Cecere

Graduate student

thomas.a.leddycecere@gmail.com  |  (802) 356-0197

Interests

  Sociolinguistics, dialectology, historical linguistics, language contact, pidgin and creole languages; Arabic, North American English

Joseph Leidy

Graduate student

joseph.leidy@gmail.com

Education   

M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Modern Middle Eastern history, communal identity, diaspora, migration studies, Arabic

Photo of Matthew Lundin

Matthew Lundin

Graduate student

mlundin@utexas.edu

Education   

B.A. International Relations, American University

Interests

  Arabic and Turkish Literature, Language Ideology, Language Reform, Historical Linguistics, Translation

Photo of Katherine Maddox

Katherine Maddox

Graduate student

Tracey A Maher

Assistant Instructor

maher.tracey@utexas.edu  |  FAC 27

Photo of Valerie Montes

Valerie Montes

Graduate Student | Teaching Assistant

vsmontes@utexas.edu

Education   

BA in Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Interests

  translation studies, Mediterranean studies, sociolinguistics, Arabic dialects, North Africa, the Maghreb, applied linguistics, pedagogy

Caroline Najour

Graduate student

najour@utexas.edu

Interests

  Teaching Arabic as a foreign language, contemporary Arabic fiction, Arabic language and culture, Francophone literature, colonial and postcolonial studies, feminist critical theory, and modern Middle Eastern history

Photo of Laura Partain

Laura Partain

Graduate student

laura.p.partain@gmail.com

Interests

  Religious, Gendered, and Nationalist Identity in times of Political Conflict, Resistance Movements, Citizenship, Martyrdom, Abrahamic religious texts and traditions, Visual Culture

David Petit

Graduate student

david.n.petit@gmail.com

Interests

  Civil conflict, development and reconstruction, the Levant, terrorism and insurgency

Photo of Jason Schroepfer

Jason Schroepfer

Graduate student

j_schroepfer@utexas.edu

Education   

M.A. Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin, B.A. Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, University of California, Berkeley

Interests

  Arabic dialectology, phonology, language contact, sociolinguistics

Photo of Joshua Sears

Joshua Sears

Graduate student

Photo of Jung Min Seo

Jung Min Seo

Ph.D. Candidate / Assistant Instructor

jungmin@utexas.edu

Education   

B.A. in Arabic & M.A. in Arabic Linguistics, Hankuk Univ. of Foreign Studies (Seoul, South Korea); M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, Columbia Univ. in the City of New York; Ph.D. in Arabic Studies, UT Austin

Interests

  Arabic Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Dialectology, Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language

Melissa Smyth

Graduate student

Photo of David Sobey

David Sobey

Graduate student

dsobey@utexas.edu

Interests

  Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Biblical Studies, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Syriac, Aramaic, Syntax, Early Christianity, Religious Studies

Photo of Navdeep Sokhey

Navdeep Sokhey

Graduate student

navsokhey@utexas.edu

Interests

  Arabic sociolinguistics, palatalization in Cairene Arabic, TAFL, Arabic dialects

Photo of James Stewart

James Stewart

Graduate student

james.c.stewart@utexas.edu  |  435-881-3760

Education   

Double BA in History and Political Science from Utah State University, The Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Interests

  History, Political Science, Arabic, Hebrew

Photo of Corinne Stokes

Corinne Stokes

Graduate student

corinne.stokes@utexas.edu

Education   

PhD in Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures, University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  TAFL, Arabic/Persian language and culture, performance and verbal art, sociolinguistics, popular culture

Photo of Phillip W. Stokes

Phillip W. Stokes

PhD Student / Assistant Instructor

pwstokes84@gmail.com  |  Calhoun 3

Interests

  Arabic Dialectology; Contact Linguistics; Historical Linguistics; Historical Arabic grammar; Comparative Semitics; Arabian Epigraphy; Aramaic varieties

Photo of Michael Turner

Michael Turner

Graduate student

mlturner@utexas.edu

Education   

M.A., The University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Arabic Dialectology, the Maghreb, Amazigh (Berber) Languages, Language Contact, Sociolinguistic Variation

Photo of Estefania Valenzuela Mocho

Estefania Valenzuela Mocho

Graduate student

estefaniavalenzuela@utexas.edu

Interests

  Arabic Linguistics, Teaching Arabic as Foreign Language, Forensic Linguistics, and Translation

Photo of Daniel Wang

Daniel Wang

Graduate student

dwang2@utexas.edu

Education   

Ph.D., University of Texas-Austin

Rawad Wehbe

Graduate student

Photo of Jack Weinbender

Jack Weinbender

Graduate student

jack.weinbender@utexas.edu  |  FAC 27

Education   

Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Hebrew Bible, Israelite Religion, Northwest Semitic Epigraphy, Second Temple Judaism, Early Christianity & New Testament, Septuagint, Digital Humanities, Open Access.

Photo of Katherine Whiting

Katherine Whiting

Graduate student

whiting.katy@gmail.com  |  HRH 3.102

Education   

BA in Religious Studies with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies, Macalester College

Interests

  Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language; Curriculum Design

Photo of Aren Wilson-Wright

Aren Wilson-Wright

Graduate student

wilsonwright@utexas.edu

Interests

  Religions of Ancient Israel, Semitic Languages and Linguistics, Contact Linguistics, Cross-Cultural Contact

Photo of Philip Zhakevich

Philip Zhakevich

Ph.D. Candidate / Assistant Instructor

pzhakevich@gmail.com  |  FAC 27

Education   

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Interests

  Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Language, Comparative Semitics, Linguistics

Photo of Anna Ziajka Stanton

Anna Ziajka Stanton

Graduate student

aziajkastanton@utexas.edu

Education   

M.A., The University of Texas at Austin (2013), B.A., Georgetown University (2007)

Interests

  Arabic literature from the nahda to the present; Arabic to English translation; reading habits in the Arab world; the Arab publishing industry; Arabic literary prizes and book fairs

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