As a historian of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, at Rhodes I teach a wide array of topics. My courses range from the introductory surveys of The Making of the Modern Middle East and The History of North Africa: Politics, Culture, and Society to special topics courses such as Colonial Encounters in North Africa and The Algerian Revolution. In my classes, I encourage students to critically examine material for the presuppositions, theory, political viewpoint, values and personal prejudices that affected and informed it. I strongly believe that a real long-lasting reward is to be found in such an approach to studying. I also hope that a greater understanding of the history of the Middle East and Islam will enable students to make better sense of what is going on in the Middle East today.
My research interests lie in the relationships between Islamic law and society. I approach the law as a cultural system of meanings, which dialectically interact with a particular historical reality and a specific society. My point of departure is that the role and importance of the law are inseparable from its connections to a certain human culture.
Currently, I am working on a book titled Islamic Tradition Transformed: Revival and Reform in the Making of Modern Morocco that investigates the creative process of transforming Islamic law to address new historical conditions that emerged in the context of Moroccan modernity. I explore Islamic reform from discourses informed by the socio-legal concerns that shaped the daily lives of ordinary people. My goal is to provide a new framework for conceptualizing the origins of modern Islam as firmly rooted in the messy complexity of real everyday life.
In my spare time
I enjoy traveling the world. Naturally, I have traveled extensively in the Middle East, trekking in Jordan and Morocco, spending summer breaks in Cairo and Istanbul and diving in Sinai. I enjoy camping, hiking, and working out. I look forward to more hiking vacations now that I have moved from the blizzards of the Northeast to the generally pleasant temperatures of the South!
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2007
M.A., Tel Aviv University, 1998
B.A., Tel Aviv University, 1993
History 105 – The Algerian Revolution, 1954-1962
History 275 – The Making of the Modern Middle East
History 276 – Re-Making of the Twentieth-Century Middle East
History 300 – The Historian’s Craft: Methods and Approaches to Historical Investigation
History 375 – Islamic History and Civilization
History 475 – Colonial Encounters in North Africa
Islamic Tradition Transformed: Revival and Reform in the Making of Modern Morocco (Stanford: Stanford University Press), forthcoming.
Articles and Book Chapters
“Anxieties of Moroccan Modernity: A Nineteenth-Century Fatwa in Defense of Christian Manufactured Commodities.” (in preparation)
“Redefining Islamic Tradition: Legal Interpretation as a Medium for Innovation in the Making of Modern Morocco.” Islamic Law and Society. (forthcoming)
“Al-Mahdi al-Wazzani.” In Islamic Legal Thought: A Compendium of Muslim Jurists. Eds. David Powers, Susan Spectorsky, Oussama Arabi. Leiden: Brill. (in press) http://www.brill.com/islamic-legal-thought
Co-author with David S. Powers "From the Mi′yar of al-Wansharisi to the New Mi′yar of al-Wazzani: Continuity and Change," Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 33 (2007), 235-260
“To Tawfiq al-Hakim from Taha Husyan.” In Sculpturing Culture in Egypt: Cultural Planning, National Identity and Social Change in Egypt, 1890-1939. Ed. Orit Bashkin, Liat Kozma, and Israel Gershoni (in Hebrew). Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University, 1999, 148-154
“Rethinking Egyptian Historiographical Discourse: The Cultural Repertoire of Taha Husyan and the Formation of National Identity in Modern Egypt.” (in Hebrew) Jama’a, 3 (December 1998), 9-33