Lale Javanshir is a Ph.D. candidate under the supervision of Professor Victor Ostapchuk. Her dissertation is on 17th-century ottoman Ġazānāmes concerning the Northern Black Sea region and their value as historical sources. Lale studied at the Department of Turkish Language and Literature at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey. She also received an Honors BA degree with Distinction at the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto as a Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations specialist. She holds an M.A. in Turkish and Ottoman Studies from University of Toronto. Lale is recipient of Oktay and Virginia Aksan Scholarship, and Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS).
Courses Taught: “Introductory and Intermediate Turkish” at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto.
Emilie Terebessy is a second-year MA student pursuing Islamic Studies with an emphasis on law, anthropology, and hermeneutics. She is a recipient of the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s Program (CGSM) and the Sir Joseph Flavelle Fellowship. Her thesis calls for a re-examination of the authenticity of ahadith (prophetic reports) as it relates to the development of Islamic law and jurisprudence. She completed her BA (Hons.) at University of Toronto (U of T).
As the current Vice-President of the NMCGSA, she strives to cultivate camaraderie among her fellow students. She works as a reference assistant at the U of T Map and Data Library. Additionally, she has planned and facilitated several events ranging from symposiums, interfaith-dialogue sessions, to fundraisers as well as awareness campaigns for humanitarian causes.
Having been raised in a growing climate of repression, she seeks to invite the masses to join her brand of “progressive” Islam. Confronted by the harsh realities of academia, and most certainly not deterred by them, she aims to venture into tech entrepreneurship to fund her academic aspirations, Malaysian restaurant, and aforementioned frat-cult.
Emilie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Wiggins is a second-year M.A. student in Egyptology. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology and Ancient History from Western Washington University, where she wrote a senior thesis on state formation and the relationship amongst communities in Old Kingdom Egypt. Katie has excavated in colonial and pre-colonial sites in Massachusetts, USA. Her research interests include popular religion in early Egyptian history and the interplay between religion and the state. Currently, Katie is serving as Treasurer of the NMC Graduate Student Association.
Katie can be contacted at email@example.com
Silvia Zago is a Ph.D. candidate in Egyptology and a recipient of the Connaught International Scholarship for Doctoral Students. She holds a B.A. in Near Eastern Archaeology with an Egyptology major from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice (Italy), and an M.A. in Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East with a specialization in Egyptology from the University of Pisa (Italy). She has worked on excavations in Italy (Formigine, S. Quirico di Populonia) and in the Middle East, at the UNESCO site of Khor-Rori (Italian Mission to Oman) and at Dra Abu el-Naga (Thebes West, Egypt). While working on her doctorate, she also teaches the introductory course to Middle Egyptian in the department. Her research so far has dealt with studying the Pyramid Texts from different cultural angles, including the mechanisms through which mythemes were incorporated in and surfaced through the texts. Her doctoral thesis, under the supervision of Professor Katja Goebs, discusses the development of the concept of Duat as part of Egyptian afterlife beliefs, as it is attested in the various funerary compositions over time.
Ahsen Akdal is an international PhD student, studying Islam and politics in contemporary Turkey under the supervision of Professor Amira Mittermaier. He holds an M.A. in Sociology from Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul. His topics of interest cover political anthropology, anthropology of Islam, secularism, neoliberalism and Turkish modernity. His research project, which includes intensive ethnographic fieldwork, focuses on the recent interplay of state institutions and religious communities in Turkey and the transformation of the perceived modes of religiosity in Turkish society. Ahsen is a recipient of University of Toronto Fellowship and Turkish-Canadian Community Scholarship.
Ahsen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Sarlo is a Ph.D. candidate in Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, with a research focus on early Yahwism. His dissertation explores Yahweh as a solar deity in some of the oldest passages of the Hebrew Bible. He has recently given several conference presentations in this area, and is presently working on publishing an article. He enjoys working with the ancient Semitic languages, in particular Biblical Hebrew and Akkadian. He received his B.A. from Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario and his M.A. from the University of Toronto
Thomas H. Greiner, A Ph.D. student in Egyptian archaeology, focuses his research on the semi-precious stone, lapis lazuli. Under the supervision of Professor Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner and Professor Katja Goebs, Thomas is examining the material culture and significance of lapis lazuli in dynastic Egypt. He received his B.A. from the University of British Columbia and then completed an M.A. in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. He has excavated at the Predynastic site of Hierakonpolis as well as in northern Minnesota, USA. Recently, he co-founded Ancient Egypt Alive, an initiative that is fostering Egyptological excitement in Toronto’s cultural landscape.
Tracy L. Spurrier is a Ph.D. candidate who is studying Near Eastern archaeology with a specialization in Mesopotamia. She holds a B.A. in Archaeology with an Anthropology minor from Boston University and an M.A in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto. Tracy has worked on excavations at Torre d’en Gaumes in Spain, Hierakonpolis and Wadi Gawasis in Egypt, Tell Hamoukar in Syria, and Tell Tayinat in Turkey. While working on her doctorate, she has also taught courses in Ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian Mythology as well as The Ancient Mediterranean World. Along with her doctoral studies and teaching, Tracy was the Assistant Curator for the special exhibit “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” at the Royal Ontario Museum. Her research interests focus on the Neo-Assyrian Period and include imperial art, ideology, the emergence and expansion of empire, interregional interactions, warfare, and osteology. She has done ample specialized work on the Nimrud Tombs and her doctoral research, conducted under the supervision of Professor Clemens Reichel, examines the intended audience, viewership, and purpose of Neo-Assyrian Palace reliefs using a mixture of archaeological, architectural, art historical, and textual data in tandem with space syntax access analysis. She has been involved with the NMC Graduate Students’ Association since 2007 and has served as its President since 2011. Prior to her graduate career, Tracy worked for a number of years for the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) in Boston.
Usman Hamid is a Ph.D. candidate and a recipient of both a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship and a J.W. McConnell Memorial Fellowship for his research on early modern north India under the Mughal dynasty. He previously completed his master’s degree at the Institute of Islamic Studies at McGill University. Usman’s dissertation examines the politics of Muslim religious intellectuals and notables during the rise of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, focusing on their engagement with new imperial institutions and systems of patronage that emerged during the reign of Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Akbar (r. 1556-1605). This project looks at works of political advice, debates over rituals and pilgrimage, and the social networks and institutions that regulated imperial patronage. His broader research interests include Indo-Persian historiography and hagiography; Sufism in South Asia; history of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire; Perso-Islamic ethics and advice literature; as well as gender and sexuality in early modern India with a focus on masculinity and eunuchs. Courses Taught: “Islam in South Asia, c. 700—1700” at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto – Mississauga.
Kyle Gamble is a Ph.D. candidate working on contemporary Lebanese and diasporic literature. Kyle has been awarded the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship in pursuit of the collaborative program with the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. He holds a B.Soc.Sc. in International Studies and Modern Languages as well as an M.A. in World Literatures and Cultures, both from the University of Ottawa. Under the supervision of Professor Jeannie Miller, Kyle has studied contemporary Arabic literature, modern Middle Eastern history, and diasporic literature. His dissertation project, entitled “Exile at Home: Diaspora and Dilemma in Novels of the Lebanese Civil War,” focuses on the claustrophobic apartment space and other figures of dilemma within novelistic representations of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990).
Pooriya Alimoradi is pursuing his Ph.D. under the co-supervision of Professor Enrico G. Raffaelli and Professor Maria E. Subtelny. He holds an M.A. in the History and Philosophy of Religion from Concordia University and another M.A. in Ancient Iranian History from the University of Tehran. He is interested in Iranian history, languages and culture in Late Antiquity, religions of ancient Iran, including Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Mazdakism, as well as the study of Zoroastrianism in the early centuries of Islam in Iran.
Since 2000, he has been working on ancient Iranian languages, including Avestan, Old Persian, Middle Persian, Parthian and Manichean. He is a recipient of numerous scholarships, including the Houtan Scholarship (2012, 2013-14), the Soudavar Memorial Foundation Travel Grant (2013), the Concordia University Conference and Exposition Award (2013), and the Concordia University Merit Scholarship (2011). Since December 2012, he has been a student member of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies (ASPS). Since December 2011, he has been the webmaster of www.persianatesocieties.org. Additionally, he is the former editor and webmaster of the Bulletin of Ancient Iranian History (BAIH), as well as several other magazines.