Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Affiliated Faculty

Amal Amireh

Amal Amireh

Associate Professor

Dr. Amireh received a BA in English literature from Birzeit University in the West Bank and an MA and a PhD in English and American literature from Boston University. Before joining George Mason University, Amireh taught at An-Najah National University and Birzeit University (both in West Bank/Palestine).

She is author of The Factory Girl and the Seamstress: Imagining Gender and Class in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction (Garland, 2000), and is co-editor, with Lisa Suhair Majaj of Going Global: The Transnational Reception of Third World Women Writers (Garland, 2000) and Etel Adnan: Critical Essays on the Arab-American Writer and Artist (McFarland, 2002). Her writings on Arab women and Arabic literature have appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Against the Current, The Women's Review of Books, World Literature Today, and Edebiyat: The Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures.

Shaul Bakhash

Shaul Bakhash

Robinson Professor

Dr. Bakhash specializes in the history of the modern Middle East with a special interest in the history of Iran. He received his B. A. and M. A. from Harvard University and his D. Phil from Oxford University. He worked for many years as a journalist in Iran, writing for Tehran-based Kayhan Newspapers as well as for the London Times, the Financial Times, and the Economist. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and held fellowships at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton and other research centers.

He is the author of Iran: Monarchy, Bureaucracy and Reform Under the Qajars, 1858-1896; The Politics of Oil and Revolution in Iran; and Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution.   His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals and books, as well as in the New York Review of Books, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers.

Lawrence E. Butler

Lawrence E. Butler

Associate Professor

Dr. Butler received his BA and MA from Oberlin College and his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.  Trained as a medievalist with emphasis on Byzantine and Islamic architecture, Butler’s teaching and scholarly interests range across medieval Eurasia, from Iceland through China. He is particularly interested in Istanbul, Turkey, and the Silk Road connections between the medieval Mediterranean world and East Asia. He served as the Coordinator of the Art History program from 2002 to 2005. Currently, he is the Coordinator for the Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology interdisciplinary minor.

Dr. Butler has published articles and presented papers on the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and on the material culture of the trade routes of Asia.  His published studies of Islamic art include “Mosques and Muslim Identity along China’s Trade Routes” and “Putting the Silk into Silk Route Studies,” both in East-West Connections: Review of Asian Studies.

Dr. Butler has taught at Hiram College and has also held research positions at a number of museums and was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Turkey in 1982-83. He is also an active participant in the Semester at Sea program, whose worldwide itineraries provide rigorous coursework coupled with field assignments while sailing to 8-12 international destinations.  He was the visiting lecturer in Art History on the Fall 1999, Summer 2004, and Fall 2009 voyages.  On the Summer 2011 voyage, he was the Global Studies lecturer.

In 2004, Dr. Butler was awarded George Mason University’s Teaching Excellence Award and in 2005 he was elected to Phi Beta Delta, the honorary society for international education.

Ahsan Butt

Ahsan Butt

Assistant Professor

Ahsan Butt is an Assistant Professor of Government and Politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University. He received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2012 and a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2006.  

Specializing in international relations, his research and teaching generally focus on ethnicity and nationalism, security, international relations theory, and South Asia. He has several research projects in progress, including a book project, based on his dissertation, which explains the variation in state violence against secessionists by pointing to the external security implications of secessionist movements. He is also currently working on a pair of research articles. The first is on the relationship between conventional military postures and nuclear acquisition in South Asia. The second investigates the deleterious effects of the spread of nationalism from the 19th century onwards on postcolonial states’ internal and external security. He also has a forthcoming article in International Organization on anarchy and hierarchy in IR theory.

His research has received generous support from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Mellon Foundation.

Robert D. DeCaroli

Robert D. DeCaroli

Professor

Robert DeCaroli received his Ph.D. in the field South and Southeast Asian art history from UCLA. He is a specialist in the early history of Buddhism and has conducted fieldwork in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.

He is the author of Haunting the Buddha: Indian Popular Religions and the Formation of Buddhism (Oxford UP 2004) as well as of several journal articles and book chapters. The majority of this work deals with early (3rd c. BCE - 5th c. CE) aspects of South Asian material culture and its interaction with forms of regional religious practice.

His second book, Image Problems: The Origin and Development of the Buddha’s Image in Early South Asia (U Washington Press 2015), explores the origin of the Buddha image and the social, political, and religious factors that led to its codification and spread.

He has been the recipient of the George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award and has received research grants from the Asian Cultural Council and the Getty Research Institute.

From 2005 to 2014 he served as Director of the Art History Program.

Leslie Dwyer

Leslie Dwyer

Assistant Professor

Leslie Dwyer is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on issues of violence, post-conflict social life, transitional justice, the politics of memory and identity, gender, critical medical and psychological approaches to social suffering, and globalizing discourses of human rights, social activism and psychosocial repair. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2001 after completing a dissertation entitled “Making Modern Muslims: Embodied Politics and Piety in UrbanJava, Indonesia.” From 2001-2003 she was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation International Peace and Security fellowship and a H.F. Guggenheim Foundation grant for field research on political violence in Indonesia. From 2003-2009 she taught at Haverford College, where she coordinated the Peace and Conflict Studies program. She joined the faculty of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) in the fall of 2009.

Professor Dwyer’s current research project, which has been supported by a grant from the United States Institute of Peace, addresses the aftermath of political violence in Bali, Indonesia. Working in collaboration with the Balinese anthropologist Degung Santikarma and with university and activist colleagues in Indonesia, she has spent over four years conducting intensive ethnographic fieldwork on how the state-sponsored violence of 1965-66, in which an estimated 500,000-1 million Indonesians were massacred as alleged communists, shifted cultural landscapes, shaping possibilities for personhood, political agency, community identity and narrative. She has published a number of essays on this work, focused on the social and political production of forgetting, on ritual as a site of gendered reworkings of state history, on the gendered politics of post-conflict speech, and on discourses of reconciliation and the production of “civil selves” and “transitional citizens” after violence.

Heba F. El-Shazli

Heba F. El-Shazli

Assistant Professor

Heba El-Shazli is Assistant Professor at George Mason University’s School of Policy, Government and International Affairs (SPGIA) where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on International Relations Theory, Politics, Government and Society of the Middle East, and Political Islam. She holds a Ph.D. in Government and International Affairs, from Virginia Tech, and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Georgetown University. She is an Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University’s Master’s Degree Program at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society, and has held previous teaching positions at the Virginia Military Institute and Virginia Tech. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

El-Shazli has 28 years of experience in civic and union organizing, institution building, leadership skills training, labor education and training methodologies, political advocacy, and development, implementation and management of international programs. Her work with trade unions, political institutions, political parties and NGOs has taken her to Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucuses, Iran, South America, Western Europe, the United States, and to the Middle East and North Africa. She was the Regional Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa programs at the Solidarity Center, AFL-CIO from September 2004 until June 2011. El-Shazli was the Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs from 2001 until 2004. During her tenure at NDI, she served as NDI’s Resident Representative in Beirut, where she implemented programs to help develop and empower civil society organizations in Lebanon and in the region. She has also worked at the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (The Solidarity Center), the international institute of the American labor movement, the AFL-CIO from 1994 to 2000, where she managed programs in eight Arab countries. She previously served as the Free Trade Union Institute’s Senior Program Officer for Central and Eastern Europe from 1987 to 1994, during which time she developed and implemented educational, training and financial assistance programs for trade unions in the region. During her tenure with FTUI, El-Shazli responded to regional needs with programs addressing worker rights, gender empowerment, communications, training of trainers (TOT), vocational and leadership skills training.

Benjamin Gatling

Benjamin Gatling

Assistant Professor

Benjamin Gatling (Ph.D., Ohio State University) is a folklorist specializing in the folklore of Central Asia and the Middle East. Prior to coming to Mason, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University. He is currently working on a book project, entitled Post-Soviet and Sufi: Islam and Expressive Culture in Tajikistan, as part of the Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World multi-press book series. The book explores how Muslims in Tajikistan mobilize expressive culture to carve out political agency and construct what it means to be Muslim in the post-Soviet context.

Nathaniel Greenberg

Nathaniel Greenberg

Assistant Professor

Nathaniel Greenberg's research centers on the history of the Arabic novel, Arab cinema, and public intellectualism. He completed his Ph.D. under the direction of Dr. Terri DeYoung at the University of Washington. And from 2012-2013, was a Postdoctoral Fellow in North African Studies with the Center for Strategic Communication at Arizona State University. He serves currently as Book Review Editor for the Journal of Arabic Literature.

Along with peer-reviewed articles on subjects ranging from the rise of existentialism in post-WWII Arabic fiction, to the discourse on terrorism in Tunisia, Greenberg is author of The Aesthetic of Revolution in the Film and Literature of Naguib Mahfouz (1952-1967). The book, which focused on the Egyptian Nobel laureate's turn to screenplay writing following the 1952 Free Officers' Coup, was awarded the American Comparative Literature Association First Book Subvention Award in 2014. It has since been reviewed in several journals, including The Bulletin of SOAS and The International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Greenberg is currently working on a second book drawn from his experience writing about the opening days of the 2011 uprising in Cairo for The Seattle Times. A third project examining the rise of political Islam in the Maghreb is also underway with Dr. Jeffry R. Halverson. At Mason, Professor Greenberg teaches Modern Standard Arabic, film, literature, open-source media analysis, and translation. He serves as the program coordinator for the University's Foreign Language Major and Minor in Arabic and is an affiliate member of the Ali Varul Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, Film and Media Studies, and the Middle East and Islamic Studies program.

 

 

 

Susan  Hirsch

Susan Hirsch

Professor

Susan F. Hirsch, a cultural anthropologist, is a Professor in the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University and Chair of S-CAR’s Faculty Board. From 2009 to present, she has been affiliated in Mason’s Women and Gender Studies Program. Professor Hirsch is the Principal Investigator for the Undergraduate Experiential Learning Project funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), 2011-2013. The project aims at linking theory to practice through pedagogical initiatives, such as experiential learning activities and service learning intensive programs. She is also a recepient of the Point of View Working Group Grant that aims at promoting better learning through practice, 2010-2011. Her current major research and book project (with Dr. Frank Dukes) focuses on conceptualizing stakeholders in the conflict over surface mining in Appalachia.

Professor Hirsch’s most recent book, titled In the Moment of Greatest Calamity: Terrorism, Grief and a Victim’s Quest for Justice (Princeton University Press, 2006) is a reflexive ethnography of her experiences of the 1998 East African Embassy bombings and the subsequent trial of four defendants. As a bombings survivor and a widow of a victim, Professor Hirsch began attending the embassy bombings trial in New York City in January, 2001, and over the next six months came to study it as a legal anthropologist. The volume highlights the difficulties experienced by a terror victim who opposes the death penalty yet seeks to participate in a capital trial. Professor Hirsch’s research interests and public speaking topics include debates over justice as a response to acts of terrorism and mass atrocity, controversies over Islamic law in the post-911 era, the politics of capital punishment and victims’ rights, and new forms of global justice, such as the International Criminal Court.

John N Paden

John N Paden

Robinson Professor

Dr. Paden received his BA in philosophy from Occidental College, his MA in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and his PhD in politics from Harvard University. He has served as Director of African Studies at Northwestern University, Professor of Public Administration at Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria, Nigeria), and Dean, Faculty of Social and Management Sciences, at Bayero University (Kano, Nigeria).

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