hebaPopular culture, Islamic law, modernity
Fulbright Fellow, FLARE Program (Multimedia and SLA) University of Iowa (2007-08)
BA in English Literature and Linguistics from Mansoura University (2001)

Prior to joining the PhD program at Georgetown, Heba was a Fulbright Fellow at the FLARE program of the University of Iowa. She has also completed graduate coursework in English literature at Mansoura University and in comparative literature and postcolonial studies at Cairo University. Her research interests are very interdisciplinary and range widely from Arabic classic religious texts such as the Qur’an and Prophetic tradition to popular culture and rap music. Her current research focuses on film, media and popular culture at the intersections of Islamic legal traditions and discourses of modernity in twentieth century Egypt.

Her recent publications include: “Stuck with Him: Bassem Youssef and the Egyptian Revolution’s Last Laugh,” co-written with Joel Gordon, Review of Middle East Studies 48 (2014): 34-43, and “Mediating Discourse of Democratic Uprising in Egypt: Militarized Language and the “Battles” of Abbasiyya and Maspero,” co-written with Mervat Youssef and Anup Kumar, International Journal of Communication [Online] 8 (2014).


SerajComparative history of Israel/Palestine
MA (2008), Arabic and Islamic Studies, Tel Aviv University
BA (2005), Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Jordan

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Non-Service Stipend Award (2015-16)
Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship, Social Science Research Council (2014)
Oxtoby Essay Prize, Georgetown University (2012)

Seraj’s research examines the history and politics of nomadism in Mandate Palestine. By nomadism, he refers to the emergence of a territorialist discourse that views tribal formation as the antithesis of rootedness, belonging, and national identity. Drawing on primary sources in Arabic and Hebrew, he aims to show how local conceptions of nomadism have been reconstructed on new legal taxonomies rooted in modern European theories and praxes. By undertaking a comparative approach, he maintains that the introduction of these taxonomies transformed not only local Palestinian perceptions of nomadism, but perceptions that had characterized Hebrew and Jewish literature.

Seraj has already published in academic journals as well as public media. His publications include “Memory, Myth and the Military Government: Emile Habibi’s Collective Autobiography,” Jerusalem Quarterly 52 (2013). Contributions to several major newspapers include “Ben-Gurion and Me,” Jerusalem Post, April 1, 2014 and “Watching ‘Avatar’ from Palestinian Perspective,” Arab News, February 17, 2010.


ferielIslamic political philosophy, Islamic law, ethics 
BA (2000), English Language and Literature, Institut Superieur des Langues de Tunis, Tunisia
MA (2006), Culture Studies, Faculte des Lettres, Manouba, Tunisia

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Philosophy Department, Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg (2015-17)
Civil Society Scholar Award, Open Society Foundation (Fall 2014)

Feriel is writing her dissertation on the notion of the written and unwritten law based on Ibn Rushd’s Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Rhetoric. This last fall semester, she was a recipient of the Open Society Civil Society Scholar Award, which she used to travel in order to consult some of Ibn Rushd's manuscripts at the Medicea Laurenziana Library in Florence and in the Suleymaniye in Istanbul. Her research interests cover Islamic political philosophy, Islamic law, and ethics. Feriel is also interested in manuscript studies; in 2013 and 2014 she took part in a series of workshops in Beirut, organized under the European Research Council Advanced Grant Project Philosophy in Context: Arabic and Syriac Manuscript Transmission in the Mediterranean World. She has an upcoming publication based on her dissertation research, which will be published in the volume Interpreting Averroes: Critical Essays, edited by Peter Adamson and Matteo Di Giovanni (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2016).


tuveReligious authority in Islam, modern Islamic movements
MA (2006), Near Eastern Studies, University of Arizona
BA (2000), French, University of Michigan

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Non-Service Stipend Award (2014-15)

Tuve began the Islamic Studies program in 2010.  His dissertation research examines the phenomenon of Muslim televangelism, looking at the common themes these duʿa address, as well as how they present and frame their religious authority/legitimacy. 

For his most recent papers see the News section of our website.


nabilShīʿa studies (social movements, theology, comparative Islamic law)  
MA (2009), Arabic Language and Literature, Georgetown University
BA (2000), Mathematics and Computer Science, American University of Beirut

Research Fellowship, Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Qatar (2014-15)

Nabil is in the process of completing his PhD in Islamic Studies. His dissertation, “Becoming Rebels: Community, History, and Religious Education in Twentieth-Century Shīʿī Lebanon (1966-1982),” focuses on Shīʿī Islamic Activism in Lebanon, reconsidering the beginnings of religious identification in Shīʿī Lebanon. In addition to social movements, Nabil’s current interests include Sunni-Shīʿī interactions during the twentieth century, comparative Islamic Law, and Shīʿī theology. 

Before joining the Arabic and Islamic Studies department at Georgetown, Nabil studied Mathematics and Computer Science at the American University of Beirut. He then worked for several years in the field of Information Technology as a software engineer and data analyst. Bringing his technical and academic experiences together, he developed interests in digital humanities, particularly in the area of visualizing history.

He has given several talks at different venues, including “The Interplay between Sociopolitical Developments and Transformation of Islamic Discourse in Iraq: A Study on the Shīʿī Political Thought of Muḥammad Bāqir al-Ṣadr,” at The Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University (April 2012). 


nazirArabic sociolinguistics
MA (2013), Arab Studies, Georgetown University
MPA (2011), Public Affairs, Princeton University
BA (2008), Sociology and International Relations (minor in Philosophy), Seattle University

Nazir is currently a PhD candidate in Arabic Sociolinguistics (all but dissertation). His research interests cover the co-production, conflicting relations, and transmission of semiotic systems; Linguistic/Semiotic Anthropology, Multimodal Interaction, Interperformance, Intertextuality, Discourse Analysis, Rhythmic Organization, Spatial Epistemics, Cybernetics, Identity & Distributed Cognition, Cognitive Blending, Voice Registers; Anthropology of Revolution, the Arab Spring Uprisings; Islamophobia, Islam and Muslims in America/the West.

He recently coauthored an article on  “Post-9/11: Making Islam an American Religion,” with Yvonne Haddad, Religions 5 (2014): 477-501. This article examines the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment known as “Islamophobia” and argues that it is important to highlight both progressive and conservative developments in American Muslim communities since 9/11.

Nazir has presented several papers at academic venues, among which: “Inclusion & Exclusion in The ‘New Egypt’: Egyptian Identities & Codes Emerging from the 2011 Revolution”, presented at Georgetown University Graduate Workshop on Discourse, Politics & Identity hosted by visiting professor Ruth Wodak of Lancaster University, April 4, 2014. The paper examined three speeches by former Egyptian President Morsi to identify conceptual metaphors using a critical discourse analytical framework. Focused on implications of grounding metaphors that seem to include some constituencies while excluding others.


miguelClassical and contemporary Arabic poetry
BMus (2008), Studio Music and Jazz, University of Miami

Miguel is a musician and linguist whose research interests include contemporary Arabic poetry and classic poetic forms like the muwashshah. He is also leader of the Sudanese-American music group Otaak Band. 


mustafaLegal theory, comparative law, intellectual history, theology
MSt (2005), Modern History, University of Oxford
LLB (2003), First Class Honors, London School of Economics

Abdul Rahman is currently a PhD candidate in Islamic Studies (all but dissertation). His research interests cover Islamic legal theory, comparative law, intellectual history, theology as well as political theory.

He has published a monograph, On Taqlīd: Ibn al Qayyim’s Critique of Authority in Islamic Law, Oxford University Press, New York, 2013, and several articles, including “From the Hudood Ordinances to the Protection of Women Act: Islamic Critiques of the Hudood Laws of Pakistan,” with Moeen H. Cheema, UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law (2008-09) as well as entries in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law, Oxford University Press, New York (“Proof, Standards of,” “Pakistan,” and “South Asia: An Introduction”).

In 2014, he participated in the Liberal Arts International Conference hosted by Texas A&M University at Qatar on “Antinomialisms in Urban Critique: The Urban Environment of Mecca and Medina.” 


mikeApplied linguistics
BA (2009), Arabic Language & International Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

Mike is interested in topics related to Arabic acquisition, assessment, and proficiency testing. His dissertation examines the nature of written proficiency in Arabic, how this developing proficiency can best be measured in the written production of learners at different levels, and how the writing of Arabic learners differs from that of native speakers.


francescoArabic sociolinguistics
MA (2008), Afro-Asiatic Studies, University of Pavia
BA (2005), Interpreting and Translation (Arabic, Italian, English, German), University of Trieste

Francesco joined the Arabic PhD program in 2011. His current research revolves around new writing practices on Syrian social media. His areas of study are Arabic sociolinguistics, Arabic poetry and applied linguistics. He holds a BA in interpreting and translation (Arabic, Italian, English, German) from the University of Trieste and an MA in Afro-Asiatic studies from the University of Pavia. He recently delivered the paper “Hybridity on Syrian Facebook Pages” at the 2015 Georgetown University Roundtable on Language and Linguistics (GURT) annual conference. In his free time he stays out of trouble swimming and playing the violin.