About the Core Faculty
Cheikh Babou, History
Cheikh Anta Babou is a historian of Islam and the modern West African Muslim diaspora. Dr. Babou has authored numerous works related to topics related to Sufi Islam, migration, Islamic Education, Senegalese politics and the African diaspora.
Lee Cassanelli, History
Lee Cassanelli teaches African history and historiography, the history of foreign aid in Africa, and comparative world history. His research focuses on the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia and Somalia) from the 18th to the 20th century.
Paul Cobb, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Paul M. Cobb is a social and cultural historian of the pre-modern Islamic world. A recognized authority on the history of the medieval Levant and of the Crusades in their Islamic context, his areas of interest include the history of memory, historiography, Islamic relations with the West, and travel and exploration.
Jamal J. Elias, Religious Studies
Jamal J. Elias research focuses on Islamic thought, culture and history, with a focus on Sufism, Islam and modernity, as well as visual and material culture in the Middle East and South Asia.
Mahyar Entezari, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Mahyar Entezari coordinates and teaches elementary and intermediate Persian (Farsi). In addition to teaching Persian as a foreign language, he specializes in cultural studies, with research focused on transnationalism and representations of Afghans in Iranian cinema.
Huda Fakhreddine, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Huda Fakhreddine is a specialist in Arabic literature whose work focuses on the Arabic qaṣīdah, as well as modernist movements or trends in Arabic poetry and their relationship to the Arabic literary tradition.
Feride Hatiboglu, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Dr. Hatiboglu is dedicated to teaching a fast-paced language teaching program and has been instrumental in getting her students awarded with scholarships in Turkish language and culture programs with different Turkish and US institutions.
Renata Holod, Art History
Renata Holod is Professor, and Curator in the Near East Section, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. She received her BA in Islamic Studies from the University of Toronto, MA in the History of Art from University of Michigan and Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Harvard University.
Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, History
Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet completed her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in history at Yale University. Her work analyzes the significance of land and border disputes to the process of identity and nation formation, as well as to cultural production, in Iran and its borderlands.
Harun Küçük, History and Sociology of Science
Harun Küçük’s work explores science during one of the most tumultuous periods in Ottoman history, with a particular focus on the role of scientific knowledge in the emergence of the early modern Ottoman state.
Joseph E. Lowry, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Joseph E. Lowry is a specialist in Islamic law, Arabic literature, and classical Islamic thought.
Oscar Aguirre Mandujano, History
Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano studies early modern Ottoman intellectual history, and its connections to literature, poetry, and bureaucracy.
Mustafa Menai, South Asia Studies
Mustafa Menai is Lecturer of Urdu at the University of Pennsylvania South Asia Studies Department. His research is focused on the history of Hindi-Urdu education, curriculum development and teacher training in South Asia, as well as the pedagogy of teaching language through literature, and experimenting with different poetic structures such as ghazal, nazm and haiku.
Afsar Mohammad, South Asia Studies
Afsar Mohammad is Lecturer of Foreign Languages at the South Asia Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania. His courses focus on South Asia and the Novel, Indian Poetry and Religions, Resistance literatures of South Asia, Islamic cultures and literatures of South Asia usually blend various sources of Urdu, Hindi and Telugu languages.
Projit Mukharji, History and Sociology of Science
Projit Mukharji work focuses on issues of marginality and marginalization both within and through science, focusing especially on people and knowledges who are disempowered.
Anne Norton, Political Science
Anne Norton’s research interests are identity and history, gender and race, colonialism and post colonialism, and tradition and revolution.
Josh Pien, South Asia Studies
Josh Pien teaches Hindi and Urdu courses. In addition to teaching, he has also worked on various curriculum and instructional material development projects, and served as the program director of the 2014 University of Pennsylvania Hindi-Urdu Startalk program.
Eve Troutt Powell, History
Eve M. Troutt Powell teaches the history of the modern Middle East and the history of slavery in the Nile Valley and the Ottoman Empire.
Megan E. Robb, Religious Studies
Professor Robb is currently interested in the link between print publics and group identity formation, particularly in the first half of the twentieth century in South Asia.
Teren Sevea, South Asia Studies
Terenjit Sevea’s research interests include religion in modern South and Southeast Asia, history of modern South Asia, history of modern Southeast Asia, Islamic connections in the Indian Ocean, and Sufism in early modern and modern South Asia.
Fatemeh Shams, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Fatemeh Shams is a specialist in Persian literature, with a particular expertise on modern Persian literature, social history of post-revolutionary official literature and the politics of literary production in Iran.
Heather Sharkey, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Heather J. Sharkey is a historian in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. She teaches classes on the Islamic world, the modern Middle East, and colonial and postcolonial North Africa, and on the history of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish relations.
Brian Spooner, Anthropology
Brian Spooner’s research interests include social anthropology; globalization, Islam, Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia; social organization, religion, ethnohistory, ecology, and non-industrial economies.
Mbarek Sryfi, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
Mbarek Sryfi is currently a Lecturer in Foreign Languages and Ph.D. student in Arabic Literature and Islamic Studies, both housed in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations here at Penn.
Ramya Sreenivasan, South Asia Studies
Ramya Sreenivasan’s research interests include early modern South Asia, gender and household in northern India, religion and caste in northern India, and colonialism and modernity.
Robert Vitalis, Political Science
Robert Vitalis’s research interests include state and market formation in Saudi Arabia, the political and cultural economy of the world oil industry, American expansionism, history of international relations and development studies, race and American international relations theory.