Professor Lara Deeb

Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Scripps College

Lara Deeb is Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Scripps College. She is the author of An Enchanted Modern: Gender and Public Piety in Shi‘i Lebanon (Princeton University Press 2006), and co-author of Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi’ite South Beirut (with Mona Harb, Princeton University Press, 2013), which won the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize given by the British Society for Middle East Studies, and Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East (with Jessica Winegar, Stanford University Press, 2015). Deeb has published widely on the politics of knowledge production, gender and Islam, piety and morality, Hizbullah’s cultural production, and transnational feminism. She currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.


Professor Ussama Makdisi

Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies, Rice University

Ussama Makdisi is Professor of History and the first holder of the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University. He is the recipient of the Berlin Prize at the American Academy of Berlin, where he will be a Fellow for the coming Spring semester (January to June 2018).

In 2012-2013, Makdisi was an invited Resident Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin). In April 2009, the Carnegie Corporation named Makdisi a 2009 Carnegie Scholar as part of its effort to promote original scholarship regarding Muslim societies and communities, both in the United States and abroad. Professor Makdisi is the author of Faith Misplaced: the Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001(Public Affairs, 2010).  His previous books include Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East (Cornell University Press, 2008), which was the winner of the 2008 Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association, the 2009 John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, and a co-winner of the 2009 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize given by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. Makdisi is also the author of The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (University of California Press, 2000) and co-editor of Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa (Indiana University Press, 2006).


Dr Seteney Shami

Founding Director of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS)

Seteney Shami has been with the Social Science Research Council since July 1999 and is director of the InterAsia Program as well as the Middle East and North Africa Program. She also currently serves as founding director of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences (ACSS), a regional nonprofit organization headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon.

She received her doctorate in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. Shami’s most recent publication is an co-edited volume (with Cynthia Miller-Idriss) entitled Middle East Studies for the New Millennium: Infrastructures of Knowledge (SSRC and NYU Press 2016). A forthcoming volume is co-authored with Mitchell Stevens and Cynthia Miller-Idriss entitled Seeing the World: How U.S. Universities make Knowledge in a Global Era (Princeton University Press 2018). Seteney Shami has taught at Yarmouk University, U.C. Berkeley, University of Chicago and Stockholm University. She served on the editorial boards of several publications, including Central Asian SurveyThe Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic CulturesCultural AnthropologyEthnos, and International Migration Review.