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Dr. Dana Sajdi

Employment | Qualifications | Education | Research

CURRICULUM VITAE

Employment

2005-2006 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Arbeitskreis Moderne und Islam
Theme: “Circulating Genres: Literature, History and the Politics of Translation.”
Project: “The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the 18th Century Middle East”
2004-2005 Visiting Research Associate, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, Princeton.
2002- 2005 Assistant Professor of Middle East History, History Department, Concordia University, Montreal. (On leave of absence, 2004-2005).
1992-1998 Teaching Assistant, Columbia University, New York City.
1991-1992 Assistant Director and Artistic Director, Department of English and Comparative Literature and Theatre, American University in Cairo, Cairo.

Qualifications

Ph.D. 2002 Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
Dissertation Title: “Peripheral Visions: The Worlds and Worldviews of Commoner
Chroniclers in the 18th Century Ottoman Levant”
Adviser: Richard W. Bulliet
Ph.D. awarded with Distinction
M.Phil. 1997 Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University
Major: History of the Middle East 1000-1500
Minor: Islamic Law
Language requirements: Arabic, Persian, French, German.
M.A. 1994 Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University.
Major: Islamic History 550-800
M.A. Dissertation Title: “The Role of Inter-School Polemics in the Formation of Early
Islamic Law: A Comparative Study of a Case in the
Mudawwana of Sahnun and the Kitab al-hujja `ala ahl al-
Madina
of al-Shaybani.” (Adviser: Jeanette Wakin).
B.A. (Honours). 1991 American University in Cairo.
Majors: Sociology and Theatre.
The first student to graduate from the American University in Cairo with a double major, and the first student to major in Theatre.

Educational Institutions Attended

1994-2002 Ph.D. program, Dept of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University (on leave of absence in 1999).
1992-1994 M.A. program, Dept of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University.
1986-1991 B.A. program, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, and Department of English and Comparative Literature and Theatre, American University in Cairo.
1988-1989 Year Abroad program, University of California, Berkeley.
1987 Summer program, Faculty of Arts, University of Jordan, Amman.
1984-1986 General Certificate of Education (Cambridge Board, United Kingdom), “O” and “A” Levels, National Orthodox School, Amman.
1976-1984 Primary and secondary schooling, Akram Zu`aytar School, Nablus.

Research

Publications

Articles and Encyclopedia Entries:

  1. “Re-visiting Layla’s Trespass,” in Marle Hammond and Dana Sajdi, eds. Transforming Loss into Beauty”: Essays on Arabic Literature and Culture in Memory of Magda Al-Nowaihi. (forthcoming, publisher to be determined) [Examines the historical and cultural context surrounding the poetry and career of the transgressive 8th century female poet, Layla al-Akhyaliyyah].
  2. “A Room of His Own: the ‘History’ of the Barber of Damascus (fl. 1762),” The MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 4 (2004), 19-35. [Awarded the Syrian Studies Association Prize for Best Published Article in 2004].
  3. Halal-o-Haram,” entry in the Encyclopaedia Iranica, Ed. Ehsan Yarshater, London: Routledge Kegan Paul, 1982-. [On the categories of the “permissible” and the “prohibited” in Islamic law].
  4. “Trespassing the Male Domain: The qasidah of Layla al-Akhyaliyyah,” Journal of Arabic Literature 31.2 (2000), 121-146 [On an 8th century female poet who is the only woman known to have composed a poem in the pre-eminent literary form of the tri-partite ode].

Book Reviews:

  1. Review of Heghnar Zeitlian-Watenpaugh, The Image of the City: Imperial Architecture and the Urban Experience in Aleppo in the 16th and 17th Centuries (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2004), (forthcoming in International Journal of Middle East Studies)
  2. Review of Muhammed A. Al-Da`mi, Arabian Mirrors and Western Soothsayers: Nineteenth-Century Literary Approaches to Arab-Islamic History (New York: Peter Lang, 2002), Journal of Islamic Studies 16.3 (2005), 371-374.
  3. Review of Philip K. Hitti, trans. An Arab-Syrian Gentleman and Warrior in the Period of the Crusades: Memoirs of Usamah Ibn-Munqidh (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), Arab Studies Journal 51.2/52.1 (2003-2004), 189-191.

Article Reviews:

  1. External reviewer for Journal of Urban History, 2005.
Current Research Projects
  1. Writing a monograph entitled The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the Early Modern Middle East. A social, cultural, and literary exploration of the phenomenon of commoner authorship in the 18th century Middle East through the “life and work” of the 18th century Damascene barber, Ahmad Ibn Budayr al-Hallaq (fl. 1762). (Part of the project is under a grant from the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture – see below).
  2. Preparing, from a unique and hitherto unknown manuscript, a critical edition of the original text of the chronicle of Ahmad Ibn Budayr al-Hallaq, an 18th century barber from Damascus.
  3. Editing a volume entitled Re-thinking Culture in Ottoman Early Modernity (papers presented at the Mellon-funded conference entitled “Re-thinking Culture in the Ottoman 18th century” held at Princeton University, 15-16 January, 2005.
  4. Researching an articled entitled “Possessing the City: Narrations of Damascus in the Ottoman Period.” [On the topographical and historical literature about Damascus in the Ottoman period]
  5. Co-editing (with Marle Hammond, Oxford University), “Transforming Loss into Beauty”: Essays on Arabic Literature and Culture in Memory of Magda Al-Nowaihi.
Presentations

Papers presented at academic meetings:

2005. “Nouveau Literacy in 18th Century Damascus: A Barber among the Scholars,” Berliner Seminar, “Cultural Mobility in Near Eastern Literatures: Circulating Genres/Traveling Traditions,” Working Group Modernity and Islam, 2 November 2005.

2005. “Nouveau Literacy in 18th Century Damascus: A Barber among the Scholars,” panel on “Circulating Genres: Literature, History, and the Politics of Translation,” 12th Annual Congress of die Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Voderer Orient, Hamburg, 27-29 October 2005.

2005. “In Other Worlds: The Geographies of Chroniclers in the 18th Century Levant,” Representations of Ottoman Imperial Space: Maps, Texts, Historiographies, Center for International and Comparative Studies and Department of History, Northwestern University, 4-5 March 2005.

2000. “Struggling for Tenure in the 18th century Academy: Autobiography in the Chronicle of Muhammad Ibn Kannan of Damascus,” Seminar on “Control, Mobility and Self-Fulfillment: Learning and Culture in the Islamic World since the Middle Ages,” Department of Arabic Studies and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, American University in Cairo, 13-15 April 2000.

1995. “Inter-School Polemics in the Formation of Early Islamic Law,” panel on “Initiatives and Reformulations in Islamic Law and Theology,” 30th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, Washington, DC, 6-10 December 1995.

Invited Lectures:

2004. “An Introduction to the History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” Dawson College, Montreal, April 13, 2004. (For course “Twentieth Century History”)

2004. “An Introduction to the History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict,” Dawson College, Montreal, April 21, 2004. (For course “Twentieth Century History” – Continuing Education Program)

2004. Respondent to Samuel D. Albert, “And was Jerusalem builded here…,” Centre for Canadian Architecture, Study Centre Seminar Series, Montreal, March 19, 2004.

2004. “A Room of His Own: The ‘History’ of the Barber of Damascus (fl. 1762),” The Montreal Scholars’ Circle, January 30, 2004.

2003. “A Room of His Own: The ‘History’ of the Barber of Damascus (fl. 1762),” Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Koç University, Istanbul, November 6, 2003.

2002. “A Room of His Own: The ‘History’ of the Barber of Damascus (fl. 1762),” Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, November 8, 2002.

1997. “Tajawuz al-maydan al-dhukuri: qasidat Layla al-Akhyaliyyah,” (“Trespassing the Male Domain: the qasida of Layla al-Akhyaliyyah”), Arabic Language Seminar, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, March 18, 1997.

1993. “An Introduction to Islam”, delivered to senior officers of the New York City Police Department, April 1993.

Conferences Organized
2005 Organized a Mellon-funded conference on “Rethinking Culture in the Ottoman Eighteenth Century”, Princeton University, 15-16 January, 2005.
Workshops Organized
2006 Organizing a workshop “To Print or Not to Print? Knowledge Diffusion in the 18th and 19th Century Arabic, Turkish, and Persian-Speaking Worlds,” Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 5-6 May, 2006
Lectures Organized
2004 Organized an endowed lecture series “The Saleh Sassoon Mahlab Lecture Series on the History of Jewish-Muslim Relations.” One lecture annually, starting Fall, 2004.
Inaugural Lecture by Professor Mark Cohen, Princeton University, “Jews and Muslims in the Middle Ages,” October 5, 2004.
Research Grants
2004-2005 Visiting Research Fellow, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, 2004-2005.
2003-2006 Jeune Chercheur, Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC). Awarded for proposal on “Public Space and Cultural Production in the Early Modern Levant.”
2002-2003 Concordia University Start-Up Research Grant.
Academic Awards
2004 Syrian Studies Association Best Published Article for 2004.
1992-2001 President’s Fellow, Columbia University, (on leave of absence 1999).
Summer 1997 Mellon Summer Language Study Grant, Middle East Institute, Columbia University (attended an intensive course in Turkish at Ankara University TOMER Language Teaching Center, Istanbul).
1990-1991 Cultural Scholarship, American University in Cairo.
Research Languages

Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman, English, French, German.