Past Fellows

picture of city from above


Jessie Moritz

Jessie Moritz was awarded her PhD unconditionally from the Australian National University in March 2017, where she completed her dissertation on the impact of oil wealth on state-society relations and economic development in the Gulf since 2011. She is an advanced Arabic speaker and has travelled extensively in the region. In 2013 she was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter and from 2013-2014 she joined the Gulf Studies Program at Qatar University as a Graduate Fellow. She has conducted interviews with over 140 citizens of Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, including members of royal families, ministers, elected and appointed representatives, development experts, entrepreneurs, prominent leaders in civil society, and youth activists involved in protests since 2011. In 2014, she was the joint editor of The Contemporary Middle East: Revolution or Reform? (Melbourne University Press).

As a postdoctoral research associate with the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, Jessie will examine Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and other economic reform programmes instituted in the GCC, their connection to East Asian development models – particularly the Singapore model – and the effectiveness of these efforts in alleviating the fiscal and political pressures created by reduced oil and gas rents since 2014.



Anna Hager

As a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, Anna Hager will look at Islamist and Salafi attitudes towards Coptic Egyptians in post-revolutionary Egypt (2011-2013). Egypt has always been a key center of Islamism, and has experienced various developments in this field. Following the revolution of January 25, 2011, Islamism in Egypt seemed to have experienced a new stage, when a number of Islamist and Salafi actors established political parties and tried to appear as pragmatic and inclusive political contenders. In this context, their previously intolerant attitude towards Coptic Egyptians, seemed to change, and raised questions about the possibilities of them considering Copts equal citizens. Through this research project, Anna Hager aims to further investigate a key outcome of her Ph.D. thesis: the pragmatic attitude of Islamist and Salafi actors towards Copts in the context of the video “The Innocence of Muslims,” which prevented violent backlashes against the Christian communities in Egypt.

Anna Hager earned her Ph.D. in the field of Arabic Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria, on the subject of (Arab) Christian-Muslim relations in the context of the video “The Innocence of Muslims” (produced by extremist Copts in the U.S.) in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories (September 2012). From September 2014 to May 2015 she received a grant from the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research to carry out research in Beirut, Cairo, Jerusalem and Amman.

Previously, she completed a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Vienna, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Iranian Studies at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, in Paris, and a Bachelor’s degree at the Sorbonne University, in Paris. In addition to her native languages French and German, Anna Hager is proficient in Arabic, Persian and Dari, and spent a little time learning Urdu.

Areas: Modern Near East, Eastern Christianity, Islam, Islamism


Daniel Lav

Daniel Lav’s research centers on the doctrines and intellectual history of the modern Salafi school of Islam and its medieval forerunners. At the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia he will conduct an inquiry into the Salafi doctrine known as “allegiance and disavowal” (al-wala’ wa’l-bara’), understood by Salafis as the obligation to demonstrate allegiance to God and to other believers, and to disavow other objects of worship and unbelievers. Variously interpreted by different currents of Salafism, the doctrine, like other major tenets of Salafi theology, has clear roots in the writings of the medieval polymath Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328 C.E.), where it intersects with other central features of Ibn Taymiyya’s thought, such as his theory of divine love, his theology of faith, and his doctrine of monolatry (tawhid al-uluhiyya). Later, Wahhabi scholars further developed and concretized these themes in the context of conflict with local Arabian opponents, the Ottomans, and the Khedivate of Egypt. Finally, Lav will trace the doctrine as it has been elaborated in the modern Salafi movement, including both quietest and radical interpretations. In addition to providing an account of the intellectual history of this doctrine, the research aims to relate the topic to the contemporary literature on political theology and to describe how modern Salafis deploy the doctrine to contest such distinctive features of modernity as the nation state and the delineation of a secularized and autonomous sphere of politics.

Lav received his B.A. in French Literature at the University of Chicago, and wrote his M.A. and Ph.D. theses at the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His M.A. thesis, on Ibn Taymiyya’s theology of faith and its role in modern intra-Salafi disputes, was subsequently published in book form as Radical Islam and the Revival of Medieval Theology (Cambridge, 2012). His Ph.D. thesis traces the relation between Ibn Taymiyya’s theology and the modern doctrine of hakimiyya (theonomy), and drawing on a wide range of sources in Arabic and Urdu, reexamines such topics as the relation between Abu ‘l-A`la Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb, ijtihad and taqlid in pre-modern jurisprudence, and the origins of Wahhabi doctrine. Lav is the recipient of a Yad HaNadiv Rothschild Fellowship, and over the course of his studies received the Nathan Rotenstreich scholarship, among other grants and awards. He is fluent or proficient in English, French, Arabic, and Hebrew, reads in Urdu, German, and Spanish, and has studied Farsi.

Areas: Salafism, Medieval Islamic Theology, Political Theology




Sadik J. Al-Azm

Born in Damascus, Syria 1934, and educated at the American University of Beirut, B.A. in Philosophy, 1957. Continued graduate studies in Modern European Philosophy at Yale University, Ph.D 1961. Taught philosophy at Yale, Hunter College in New York City, the American University of Beirut and Damascus University. Presently, Emeritus Professor of the History of Modern European Philosophy at Damascus University and often Visiting Professor of Contemporary Arab Social and Political Thought at various universities around the world: Princeton; Hamburg; Humbolt; Leipzig; Antwerp; Central European University, Budapest; Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan. Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, The Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC. Dr. Honoris Causa, Hamburg University; Erasmus Prize, the Netherlands; Leopold – Lucas – Prize, Tubingen University. Published, both in Arabic and English, on modern European philosophy and intervened, through books, articles and pamphlets, in the major social, political, religious and ideological debates raging in the Arab World since the early sixties to the present. Human Rights and Civil Society activist. Fellow, Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Law as Culture 2011-2012, Bonn University, Fellow Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2012-2013, Berlin. Visiting scholar, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 2013-2014. President, Association of Free Syrian Writers and editor in chief of its journal Aurag.


Emmanuel Szurek

Emmanuel Szurek is a TRI post-doctoral fellow and is working on revising his doctoral dissertation (EHESS, Paris 2013) into a published book. Titled "Governing with Words: a Linguistic History of Nationalist Turkey," Szurek shows how the Turkish language is a political artifact that owes much of its alphabetical, lexical and grammatical shape to the comprehensive undertaking conducted during the Kemalist period under the label of "language revolution." The particular issues Szurek is interested in are the intellectual elaboration of this standardized and nationalized language by Turkish linguists and its imposition, through political means, on the citizens of the Republic of Turkey.




Amin Maalouf

Born in Beirut in 1949, Amin Maalouf has lived in France since 1976. After studying sociology and economics, Maalouf joined the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, for which he travelled the world covering numerous events, from the fall of the Ethiopian monarchy to the last battle of Saigon. Forced to emigrate by the war in Lebanon, he settled in Paris, where he resumed journalism, and from where he started to travel again. He became editor of the international edition of Al-Nahar, then editor-in-chief of the weekly Jeune Afrique, before giving up all his posts to dedicate himself to literary writing.

His books, written in French, are translated into more than 40 languages. A selection of these includes: The Crusades through Arab Eyes; Leo Africanus; Samarkand; The Rock of Tanios (winner of the Prix Goncourt); Origins: a Memoir, among other works.

Maalouf has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium), the American University of Beirut (Lebanon), the University of Tarragona Rovira i Virgili (Spain) and the University of Evora (Portugal). He is a member of the Académie française and will be a visiting fellow at Princeton Transregional Institute in Spring 2014.


Nadav Samin

Nadav Samin is a TRI Fellow and concurrently a Social Science Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow for Transregional Research (Inter-Asian Contexts and Connections). He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University in 2013. The focus of his work is the history of the Arabian Peninsula, and specifically the influence of oral culture on the genealogical politics of modern Saudi Arabia. His dissertation traced the process of genealogical documentation in central Arabia from the Wahhabi period to the present day. As a TRI Fellow, Nadav will begin work on his second project, a comparative history of Arabia’s coastal communities, with an emphasis on the history of Asian migration to the Hijaz, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Nadav has authored several articles on Arabian history and culture, and has taught at Hunter College and New York University. He holds degrees from New York University and Johns Hopkins University.




Aurélie Daher

Aurélie Daher received her PhD and Master’s degrees in Political Science from Sciences Po, Paris, in 2011, and a Master’s degree in Public Management from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP Europe) in 2002. She has held a postdoctoral fellow position at the University of Oxford’s Department of Politics and International Relations (2010-2011). Her work focuses on Hezbollah, the Shiites, and Lebanese politics. For her post-doctoral research at Princeton, she intends to finish preparing a book on Lebanese politics dedicated to the phase beginning with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005 and until the seizure of power by Hezbollah in 2011 and its management of domestic and foreign policies. She will also be working on a research project studying more broadly the way Hezbollah has dealt since its creation with the Lebanese state and power.


Engseng Ho

Engseng Ho is Professor of Anthropology and Professor of History at Duke University. He was educated at Stanford University in Economics and Social Sciences, and at the University of Chicago in Anthropology. He was previously Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University and Senior Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He is interested in the international and transcultural dimensions of Islamic societies, and their relations to western empires. He has conducted research in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. He is the author of The Graves of Tarim: Genealogy and Mobility across the Indian Ocean, published by the University of California Press in the California World History Library.


Ellis Goldberg

Ellis Goldberg is a professor of political science at the University of Washington where he teaches Middle East politics. Most of his work has been on the political economy of Egypt in the 20th century including two monographs, Tinker, Tailor and Textile Worker and Trade, Reputation and Child Labor. His articles have appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, and Political Theory. He has been a visiting faculty member at Princeton University, the American University in Cairo and a visiting research fellow at Harvard. He lived in Cairo during the first six months of 2011 where he attended most of the major demonstrations and rallies before and after the collapse of the Mubarak government. He is now working on two books. One is a study of political theory by influential Arab intellectuals and its relation to the revolutionary uprising of 2011. The other is a study of the origins of the concept of the rule of law in Egypt and its impact on the structure of the court system. In 2007 Goldberg was a Carnegie Scholar and in 2012 he is a Guggenheim Fellow.


Samer Traboulsi

Samer Traboulsi is Associate Professor of History of the Middle East and the Muslim World at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 2005. He is mainly interested in the formation and development of religious groups in the Muslim World and has published a book and a number of articles on the Isma‘ilis in Yemen, the rise of the Wahhabi movement, and the history of Saudi Arabia.




Carol Hakim

Carol Hakim is an assistant-professor in History at the University of Minnesota where she has taught since 2005. Her research and teaching activities focus on nationalism, state-formation and state-society relations, and authoritarianism in the Arab world. Her forthcoming book on The Origins of the Lebanese National Idea 1840-1920 will be published shortly by University of California Press. At Princeton, she will be working on Secularism, Islam and Democracy in Egypt.




Nabil Mouline

Nabil Mouline earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Paris-Sorbonne in 2008 and a Ph.D. in political science from the Institute of Political Studies of Paris (Sciences Po) in 2010. He is the author of The Imaginary Caliphate of Ahmad al-Mansûr: Power and Diplomacy in Morocco in the 16th Century (Presses universitaires de France, 2009) and The Clerics of Islam: Religious Authority and Political Power in Saudi Arabia (18th-21th Centuries) (Presses universitaires de France, 2011, forthcoming). At Princeton Nabil Mouline will work on the construction of authority in Arab monarchies, especially in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, through rituals, symbols and images.


Aron Zysow

Aron Zysow received his A.B. (Classics), Ph.D. (Islamic Studies), and J.D. from Harvard. From 2000 to 2005 he served as Research Associate for the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. Before that he taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle and Washington University in St. Louis and commercial law at Baruch College, City University of New York. His main academic interests are Islamic law, particularly legal theory, and theology. In addition to teaching several courses while at Princeton, Dr. Zysow will complete a book on the history of usul al-fiqh and its relationship to kalam. He is the author of "If Wishes Were… : Notes on Wishing (al-tamannī) in Islamic Texts,” in Classical Arabic Humanities in Their Own Terms: Festschrift for Wolhart Heinrichs, Leiden., 2008, and “Two Theories of the Obligation to Obey God’s Commands,” in The Law Applied: Contextualizing the Islamic Shari`a: A Volume in Honor of Frank E. Vogel, London, 2008. In addition, he has contributed articles to a number of reference works, including the Encylopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition, for which he wrote the entries Ra'y, Sadaka, Sarf, and Zakat among others. He recently completed a study of the Karramiyya sect.




Roger Hardy

Roger Hardy has been a Middle East and Islamic affairs analyst with the BBC World Service for more than twenty years. Educated at Oxford, he worked in book publishing and then edited a review journal (Gazelle) and a monthly magazine (The Middle East), before joining the BBC in 1985. His radio series have included The Making of the Middle East, Islam: Faith and Power, Israel among the Nations, Europe’s Angry Young Muslims and, most recently, Jihad and the Petrodollar. He is the author of Arabia after the Storm, a study of the impact of the Kuwait war on the Arabian monarchies (Chatham House, 1991), and has contributed articles and reviews to the Economist, International Affairs, the New Statesman, Index on Censorship, and Middle East International. While in Princeton he completed a book entitled The Muslim Revolt: A journey Through Political Islam (Columbia University Press, 2010)


Pascal Ménoret

Pascal Ménoret earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Paris-La Sorbonne, where he wrote a dissertation entitled “Thugs and Zealots: The Politicization of Saudi Youth 1965-2007”. He is the author of The Saudi Enigma: A History (London: ZedBooks, 2005). Between 2005 and 2007, he was a visiting researcher at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh. His current research focuses on youth issues in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. While at Princeton he worked on a book project entitled “Youth, Politics and Violence in Saudi Arabia” and completed a book entitled L'Arabie: Des routes de l'encens a l'ere du petrole (Gallimard, 2010).


Michael Crawford

Michael Crawford is a retired senior UK foreign service officer and an expert on the history and politics of Arabia and the Middle East more generally. He has published on 19th-century Arabian history and spent the fall 2009 semester at Princeton where he completed a book manuscript on the history of the first Saudi state (1744-1818). In addition, he presented a paper on his research at a conference in November 2009 and gave a public lecture as well as made himself available to students and faculty of the university.




Thomas Hegghammer

Thomas Hegghammer completed his PhD in political science at Sciences-Po in Paris in 2007, having previously studied Oriental Studies and Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford. He has worked as a research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) since 2001. Thomas Hegghammer studies various aspects of violent Islamism, with a particular focus on jihadism in Saudi Arabia, developments in jihadi ideology and the history of the foreign fighters phenomenon. At Princeton, he turned his dissertation into the book Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979 (Cambridge University Press, 2010), began work on a new book about the jihadi ideologue Abdallah Azzam, and wrote several papers. After his Transregional Institute fellowship, he was a fellow at Harvard Kennedy School (2008-2009) and a member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2009-2010).


Majid Mohammadi

Majid Mohammadi built a career in Iran as a teacher, researcher, writer, and journalist before beginning his academic career in the U.S. He has published books in Persian and English, as well as numerous articles on topics as diverse as constitutional law in Iran, the philosophy of religion, sociology, and economics. At Princeton he worked on a project entitled “From Revolutionary Islamism to Military Islamism: the Development of Islamism in Iranian Society, 1977-2007.”  This work explores the variety of Islamic ideologies that have arisen in Iran and the religious, cultural, and political roots that sustain them. It will be published as a book by I.B. Tauris in London under the title Political Islam in Post-revolutionary Iran: Shi`i Ideologies in Islamist Discourse.




Christopher Boucek

Christopher Boucek completed his PhD at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies in 2006. Prior to this, Dr Boucek was a security editor with Jane’s Information Group and was an analyst at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, DC for nearly four years. He has published widely in academic and professional publications on a number of issues related to political and security developments in the Middle East and Central Asia, and has worked with a political risk consultancy in London. He is also a Lecturer in Public & International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. While at Princeton, Dr. Boucek will research issues related to terrorism, security, and regime stability in energy producing countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. He is currently working on a project examining recent counter-terrorism and security efforts in Saudi Arabia, specifically rehabilitation and re-education programs for militants and extremists in the kingdom and the reintegration process for Guantanamo returnees.


Miriam Lowi

Miriam Lowi is Associate Professor of Political Science at The College of New Jersey. She earned her Ph.D. in Politics and Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 1990. Professor Lowi has held research grants from the World Bank, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and is a Carnegie Scholar (2008-2010) for a project entitled, Oil and Islam: the Economy of Meaning. She was a visiting research scholar at Princeton’s Transregional Institute in spring 2007. Her research focuses on the natural resource dimension of political behavior, the political economy of oil-exporting states, and politics in Algeria. She is the author of Water and Power: the Politics of a Scarce Resource in the Jordan River Basin (Cambridge, 1993, 2nd. ed. 1995), and editor (with Brian Shaw) of Environment and Security: Discourses and Practices (MacMillan, 2000). At the TRI, Miriam completed a book manuscript, Oil Wealth and the Poverty of Politics: Algeria Compared (Cambridge, 2009). As a research scholar in the Oil, Energy, and Middle East Program in 2007-08, Professor Lowi will work on a new book – to be published by Cambridge University Press -- that explores the various ways in which oil has impacted the states and societies of the Middle East and North Africa.




Jamila Bargach

Jamila Bargach completed her Ph.D in cultural anthropology at Rice University in 1998. She is the author of Orphans of Islam: Family, Abandonment and Adoption in Morocco (Rowman and Littlefield) and has published several articles about children’s rights, women’s rights and violence against women. She has actively contributed to the creation of one of the first shelters for women victims of domestic abuse in Casablanca and has been a consultant for several European funding agencies as well as Moroccan NGOs working in the domain of women’s and children’s rights in Morocco. Her research focuses on emerging family forms in Morocco, especially that of unwed mothers. While at Princeton, Bargach gave two presentations on her work and completed a first draft of her book which is to be published by Texas University Press.