Dr. Dakake researches and publishes on Islamic intellectual history, Quranic studies, Shi`ite and Sufi traditions, and women's spirituality and religious experience. She has just completed work on a major collaborative project to produce the first HarperCollins Study Quran, which comprises a verse-by-verse commentary on the Quranic text (November 2015). This work draws upon classical and modern Quran commentaries, making the rich and varied tradition of Muslim commentary on their own scripture, written almost exclusively in Arabic and Persian, accessible to an English-speaking audience for the first time in such a comprehensive manner. She is also currently working with Daniel Madigan on a co-edited volume, The Routledge Companion to the Qur'an, and is working independently on a monograph on the concept of religion as a universal phenomenon in the Quran and Islamic intellectual tradition.
Benjamin Gatling is a folklorist and Associate Professor in the English Department, Director of the Folklore Program, and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS). He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from The Ohio State University and a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to Mason, he was a Lecturing Fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke University. His research interests include oral narrative, performance, the ethnography of communication, Persianate oral traditions, and Islam in Central Asia. His first book, Expressions of Sufi Culture in Tajikistan, was published with the University of Wisconsin Press in 2018. His current book project considers the experiences of Afghan refugees and migrants in the U.S. His research has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, IREX, and Fulbright-Hays, among others. He serves as associate editor of the Journal of American Folklore.
Nathaniel Greenberg is an Associate Professor of Arabic and Arabic Program Coordinator at George Mason University. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington and is the author of three books including, most recently, How Information Warfare Shaped the Arab Spring: The Politics of Narrative in Tunisia and Egypt (Edinburgh University Press 2019). Dr. Greenberg is a member of the Ali Varul Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies, the Film and Media Studies program, and the Middle East and Islamic Studies program at GMU. He is currently at work on two new projects concerning the history and impact of new media technology on social transformation-- a topic he first began writing about in 2011 while covering the opening weeks of the Arab Spring from Cairo for The Seattle Times.
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of the forthcoming book, A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2021). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine. Bassam is Co-Project Manager for the Salon Syria Project and Director of the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI). He received MESA's Jere L. Bacharach Service Award in 2017 for his service to the profession. Currently, Bassam is working on his second Syria book tittled Understanding The Syrian Tragedy: Regime, Opposition, Outsiders (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).
Dr. Hamdani received her B.A. from Georgetown University and M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in the field of Islamic history. Her book, Between Revolution and State: the Construction of Fatimid Legitimacy (I.B. Tauris 2006) examines the development of legal and historical literature by the Ismaili Shi’i Fatimid state. Her research has also included articles and reviews in the fields of Shi’i thought, Islamic history, and women in Islam. Her teaching interests include Islamic, Middle East, and world history. Her current research examines the construction of identity in Muslim minority communities in South Asia during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Dr. Hamdani has served on advisory boards of the Middle East Studies Association, the American Institute of Yemeni Studies, and the North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies, among others. She also founded and was director of the Islamic Studies program at George Mason University from 2003-2008.
Cortney Hughes Rinker is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Director of the Global Affairs program. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine with emphases in Feminist Studies and Medicine, Science, and Technology Studies. Her teaching and research interests are in medical anthropology, Islam, aging and end-of-life care, public policy, reproduction, Middle East Studies, development, science and technology, and applied anthropology. She conducted long-term research (2005-2009) on reproductive healthcare among working-class women in Rabat, Morocco, which turned into her book Islam, Development, and Urban Women’s Reproductive Practices (Routledge, 2013). This research focused on the ways the country’s new development policies impact how childbearing and childrearing practices are promoted to women and how women incorporate these practices into their ideas of citizenship. AnthroWorks, a popular academic blog, selected her dissertation on this subject as one of the Top 40 North American Dissertations in Cultural Anthropology for 2010. Before joining George Mason, Cortney was a postdoctoral fellow at the Arlington Innovation Center for Health Research at Virginia Tech where she worked in conjunction with a healthcare organization in southwest Virginia developing projects to improve end-of-life care and psychiatric services in a rural Appalachian town.
Her second book Actively Dying: The Creation of Muslim Identities through End-of-Life Care in the United States (Routledge, 2021) examines the diverse experiences of Muslim patients and families in the Washington, D.C. area as they interact with the health care system during serious illness and end-of-life care. Cortney analyzes faith and religious beliefs within the broader context of health economics, politics, social forces, and health care policy. In the book, she uses “actively dying” as a theoretical concept to frame the dying body as a main site through which religiosity and religious identities are formed, changed, or contested. Instead of starting from the premise that identities and beliefs are created when living she uses the deteriorating and even dead body as the basis to explore religious beliefs and identities.
Cortney’s current long-term ethnographic project, supported by the American Institute for Maghrib Studies and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Mason, focuses on palliative care and pain management during serious illness and end-of-life care in Morocco. Through ethnographic research she explores how physical pain and suffering intersect with beliefs about mortality and sin as well as a sense of self and personhood. A core component of the research is analyzing the use of pain medication (particularly opioids) within the political and economic contexts of Morocco and investigating the politicization of palliative care in the country. She examines how the state and bureaucracy impact the ways people suffer an experience illness and death.
Cortney has published articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Arab Studies Journal, Medical Anthropology, Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Hespéris-Tamuda, Southern Anthropologist, and Journal of Telemedicine and e-Health. Chapters appear in the edited volume Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa: Into the New Millennium (Indiana University Press, 2013) and in Treating the Person in Medicine and Religion: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Perspectives (Routledge, 2019). She also published in the Inaugural Virginia Humanities Conference Proceedings (2018). She has been a guest on WVTF Roanoke to discuss end-of-life care and also co-edited (with Sheena Nahm) and contributed to Applied Anthropology: Unexpected Spaces, Topics, and Methods (Routledge, 2016). Cortney is the former Editor-in-Chief of Anthropology & Aging, the official publication of the Association for Association for Anthropology, Gerontology, and the Life Course, and currently serves on its editorial board.
Cortney is currently developing an online open access textbook for introductory courses in Cultural Anthropology funded by a Virtual Library of Virginia Course Redesign Grant (with Andrew Lee and Andrew Kierig from Mason Libraries, Sarah Raskin from VCU, and Sheena Nahm McKinlay from Health Leads of California). She regularly teaches the introduction to cultural anthropology along with the undergraduate and graduate seminars in anthropological theory. She also teaches specialized courses on medical anthropology, policy and culture, globalization, religion, ethnographic methods and research design, and the Middle East and North Africa.
Yasemin Ipek is an Assistant Professor in the Global Affairs Program. Her research is informed by her long-standing interests in transnational humanitarianism and NGOs; activism and social movements; and everyday enactments of ethics, Islam, nationalism, and sectarianism in the Middle East. She is currently working on two projects. Her first project, based on her fieldwork in Lebanon between 2012 and 2015, examines how the Syrian refugee crisis has transformed national identity and post-civil war efforts towards peace-building in Lebanon. In her new research project, tentatively titled Islamic Humanitarianism: Transnational Care Networks in the Middle East, she studies Muslim aid workers in Istanbul and Beirut, and explores how piety interacts with secular and cosmopolitan discourses to shape global migration, refugees, and humanitarianism.
Yasemin Ipek received her PhD degree in Anthropology from Stanford University. She also received a second doctoral degree in the Department of Political Science, Bilkent University, where she studied political memoirs and conservative nationalism in early Republican Turkey. Her work has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals such as Turkish Studies and edited volumes such as Rhetorics of Insecurity: Belonging and Violence in the Neoliberal Era. She teaches on a wide range of subjects such as globalization, anthropology of the Middle East, refugees and humanitarianism, youth, activism and social movements, and qualitative research methods.
Dr. Peter Mandaville is Professor of International Affairs in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. From 2015-2016 he served as Senior Adviser in the Secretary of State’s Office of Religion & Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of State where he led that office’s work on ISIS and sectarian conflict in the Middle East. He has also been a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Pew Research Center. From 2011-12 he served as a member of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff where he helped to shape the U.S. response to the Arab Uprisings. He is the author of the books Islam & Politics (Third Edition, 2020) and Transnational Muslim Politics: Reimagining the Umma (2001) as well as many journal articles, book chapters, and op-ed/commentary pieces in outlets such as the International Herald Tribune, The Guardian, The Atlantic and Foreign Policy. He has testified multiple times before the U.S. Congress on topics including political Islam and human rights in the Middle East. His research has been supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Henry Luce Foundation.
Abdulaziz Sachedina, Ph.D., is Professor and IIIT Chair in Islamic Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Dr. Sachedina, who has studied in India, Iraq, Iran, and Canada, obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He has been conducting research and writing in the field of Islamic Law, Ethics, and Theology (Sunni and Shiite) for more than two decades. In the last ten years he has concentrated on social and political ethics, including Interfaith and Intrafaith Relations, Islamic Biomedical Ethics and Islam and Human Rights. Dr. Sachedina’s publications include: Islamic Messianism (State University of New York, 1980); Human Rights and the Conflicts of Culture, co-authored (University of South Carolina, 1988) The Just Ruler in Shiite Islam (Oxford University Press, 1988); The Prolegomena to the Qur’an (Oxford University Press, 1998), The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism (Oxford University Press, 2002), Islamic Biomedical Ethics: Theory and Application (Oxford University Press, February 2009), Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights (Oxford University Press, September 2009), in addition to numerous articles in academic journals. He is an American citizen born in Tanzania.
Fields of interests are Religion and Politics, Islamic Law and Ethics, Sunni and Shiite Theologies, Biomedical Ethics, Human Rights, Democracy and Pluralism, Spirituality and Mysticism.
Dr. Yilmaz holds a Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. His research interests focus on the early modern Middle East including political thought, geographic imageries, social movements, and cultural history. His most recent publications are “The Eastern Question and the Ottoman Empire: The Genesis of the Near and Middle East in the Nineteenth Century” and “From Serbestiyet to Hürriyet: Ottoman Statesmen and the Question of Freedom During the Late Enlightenment.”
Prior to his appointment at George Mason, Dr. Yilmaz taught for the Introduction to the Humanities Program and Department of History at Stanford University and the Department of History at University of South Florida. Prior to that, he was appointed Research Fellow with the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna, Austria.
His new book, Caliphate Redefined: The Mystical Turn in Ottoman Political Thought, is the first comprehensive study of pre-modern Ottoman political thought, and was published by Princeton University Press in January 2018.
Dr. Yilmaz is also the Director of the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University.