Faculty News


Mahmood Mamdani has been named as a Fellow of the British Academy

October 2017

Per the announcement: "Fellows of the British Academy represent the very best of humanities and social sciences research, in the UK and globally. This year’s new Fellows are experts in subjects ranging from feminist theory to the economic development of Africa; medieval history to Indian philosophy and face perception."

The full announcement can be viewed here.

Roni Henig is the recipient of the 2017 A. Owen Aldridge Prize

June 2017

The announcement noted that "Ms. Henig’s essay reveals, as one Aldridge judges expressed it, 'deep insight and nuanced analysis. By analyzing differences between oral and written word, and offering an excellent analysis of the way rhetorical tropes are inflected by stuttering, it sheds new light on the work of Y.H. Brenner with nuanced reading and brilliant theoretical argumentation.'"

The announcement can be viewed here.

Timothy Mitchell is the recipient of the 2017 Ester Boserup Prize

June 2017

The announcement noted that Professor Mitchell's work has "influenced fields as diverse as anthropology, history, law, philosophy, cultural studies, and art history. By exploring the origins and limits of many of the key ideas of modernity, Mitchell contributes to the decolonization of political thought."

The announcement can be viewed here.

Book launch for Ghalib: Selected Poems and Letters translated by Frances Pritchett and Owen Cornwall

Book Culture on 112th Street

Friday, April 30 at 4pm

Book launch for Fueling Culture edited by Jennifer Wenzel et al.

Book Culture on 112th Street

Friday, April 7 at 7pm

Kai Kresse, Translated by Hassan Mwakimako and Kai Kresse, Guidance (Uwongozi) by Sheikh al-Amin Mazrui: Selections from the First Swahili Islamic Newspaper With a forward by Alamin Mazrui and Hammad M.K. Mazrui


Kai Kresse and Rose Marie Beck, ed. ABDILATIF ABDALLA: POET IN POLITICS


Columbia University Press publishes Ghalib: Selected Poems and Letters translated by Frances Pritchett and Owen Cornwall

March 2017

Fordham University Press publishes Fueling Culture edited by Jennifer Wenzel et al.

January 2017

Verso Press publishes Iran without Borders by Hamid Dabashi

August 2016

Sahar Ullah is the 2016 Literature Humanities Core Preceptor Teaching Award Recipient

May 2016

After reviewing course evaluations and visiting several excellent classes, the Core Curriculum Deans office has selected MESAAS PhD candidate Sahar Ullah for the Graduate Student Core Preceptor Award for excellency in teaching Literature Humanities.

The announcement noted that "Professor Ullah prepares extensively before her classes, and she combined brilliance with professionalism. We appreciated her use of elements such as schematic drawings and close readings with discussions that were intertextual and related to current events. Her students consistently described her in their evaluations as 'incredible' and 'phenomenal'. If there were an archetypal Literature Humanities course, it would be Sahar’s course."

Sahar Ullah is currently working on her dissertation entitled "The Role of the Amatory Prelude in Post-Classical Arabic-Islamic Poetics."

Columbia University Press publishes A Rasa Reader translated and edited by Sheldon Pollock

A Rasa Reader

April 2016

Zayed Book Award Reveals 2016 Contenders in ‘Arab Culture’ and ‘Publishing’ Categories

March 2016

"Sheikh Zayed Book Award revealed today the last nominations for its tenth cycle. The list includes three titles under ‘Arab culture in other languages’ in English and French, in addition to four publishing houses nominated for winning the ‘Publishing and Technology’ award."

"One English title has been nominated under ‘Arab Culture in Other Languages’; ‘The Medieval Islamic Republic of Letter, Arabic Knowledge Construction’ by Iraqi writer Muhsin J Al-Musawi, published by University of Notre Dame Press, 2015. The book is an engaging and deeply learned work of literary history. It presents a a compelling argument against the commonly held opinion that Arabic literature, since the glorious peak of the Abbasids, has somehow failed to be modern, and instead became locked in conventions that were stultifying and rarefied, created only for a small circle of initiates who were themselves censored and censuring. Musawi reviews this misconception and demonstrates, through his readings how this generally accepted account is profoundly mistaken."

Gift in Honor of the Late Professor Emeritus Maan Z. Madina


March 2016

The Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) has received a generous gift to commemorate a former faculty member and support the field of scholarship to which he devoted his own forty-year teaching career at Columbia. Dr. Marilyn Jenkins-Madina '66GSAS, Curator Emerita of Islamic Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, made the gift in honor of her late husband, Maan Z. Madina, MESAAS Professor Emeritus and noted collector of Islamic art.

The two-part gift, consisting of an immediate donation to be followed by a bequest, will endow a visiting scholar position affiliated with the department on an annual basis. The Madina Scholar will be a distinguished academic teaching humanities at an institution in the Middle East, whose work is grounded in the history of the Arab world. The aim of the program will be to foster intellectual exchanges that benefit both the academic community at Columbia and the scholar’s students and colleagues in the Middle East.

Columbia is delighted to establish this partnership with Dr. Jenkins-Madina in memory of a long-standing faculty member, and is thrilled that this gift will fulfill a core need of the Department, by bringing exceptional visiting scholars to enrich the intellectual life of MESAAS and the University.

Professor Muhsin al-Musawi


February 2016

Professor al-Musawi's latest book, The Popular Memory of the Societies of the Thousand and One Nights, is published by Al-Markaz al-Thaqafi al-Arabi press.

The book expounds on and develops al-Musawi's early research on and criticism of the social and cultural aspect of medieval and Abbasid life, and discusses the nature of narrative techniques that evolved then in relation to poetry, historiography, geography, topography, and the akhbar genre. Please have a look at the front and back covers for more information.