MESP FACULTY UPDATE


Mehrzad  Boroujerdi,  professor  of  political  science,  published  an  article  on  Iranian  foreign  ministry  in  Foreign  Affairs  (March  6,  2019)  and  on  Iran’s  new  chief  justice  in  the  Atlantic  Council  Blog  (March 11, 2019). He also gave talks at the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, University of London, UCLA and Stanford University. Boroujerdi was a recipient of the Andrew Berlin Family National Security Research Fund from Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security  and  Counterterrorism  (December  2018),  and  was  awarded  an  Astrid  Merget  Fellowship  for  academic  year  2019-20 to teach a graduate course on foreign policy of Middle East states in Washington, D.C., for the Maxwell School.


Rania  Habib, associate professor of linguistics and Arabic, published one invited chapter in 2018: “Use of Standard Arabic [q]-Lexical-Borrowings in Syrian Rural Migrant Speech” in the edited volume Rural Voices: Language, Identity and Social Change Across Place. She presented this work at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in Salt Lake City, Utah. In February 2018, she was selected as editor of the literature, linguistics and criticism section of the Taylor & Francis Group journal Cogent  Arts  and  Humanities. In addition, since November 2016, she has served as editor of the sociolinguistics, Arabic linguistics, and phonetics and phonology sections of the De Gruyter journal Open Linguistics.


Natalie  Koch,  associate  professor  of  geography,  published  a  book  in  2018:  The  Geopolitics  of  Spectacle:  Space,  Synecdoche  and  the  New  Capitals  of  Asia (Cornell University Press), and it was recently profiled on BBC Radio 4’s Thinking  Allowed for the March 13 program on “Spectacular Cities.” She also had published several articles and book chapters related to her research sports, including her ethnographic study of Qatar’s hosting of the 2016 UCI World Championships for Road Cycling in Doha. In Spring 2019, Koch presented this research in Doha, as the inaugural media and politics lecturer at Northwestern University-Qatar, speaking on “Media and Politics in Qatar.” During a Fulbright Fellowship in Qatar and the UAE in Spring 2019, she continued research on her ongoing project on sustainability, renewables, and the food-water-energy nexus in the Arabian Peninsula. During this visit, Koch also started a new book project on historical and contemporary connections between Arizona and the Gulf states. In Spring 2019, she was elected as the communications liaison for the Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies (AGAPS), an affiliate of MESA, and in Fall 2018, became an executive board member of the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). She continues to serve as the faculty advisor for the Central Asia and the Caucasus (CAC) research group.


Jaklin Kornfilt,  professor  of  linguistics  and  director  of  the  linguistics  studies  program,  published  articles  and  papers  in  2018 and 2019. Her work has been featured in prestigious publications such as Papers in Turkish and Turkic Linguistics and Turkic Languages. She was also a visiting professor at the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari, and at the University of Crete.


Yüksel Sezgin, associate professor of political science, has spent the last year at Princeton University’s Law and Public Affairs Program (LAPA) as a visiting professor and returned to Syracuse University in Fall 2018. In 2019, Sezgin has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) to work on a book-length comparative study of Muslim family laws in Israel, India, Greece and Ghana. In Spring 2019, he began serving as an editor for the Harvard Law School’s SHARIAsource, a digital portal housing primary and secondary sources on Islamic law.


James W. Watts, professor of religion, will be a faculty fellow in the Special Collections Research Center at Bird Library this summer. In this role, he will develop resources and skills to revamp REL 301 Ancient Near Eastern Religions and Cultures to include student research on primary texts—including Syracuse University’s collection of 489 Sumerian cuneiform tablets. Watts will also publish a new book this summer: How and Why Books Matter (Equinox).