Suzanne Stetkevych

Sultan Qaboos bin Said Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies, Department Chair 
Email: ss3179@georgetown.edu
Interests: The ritual, performance and performative underpinnings of classical Arabic poetry in its literary-historical settings

A specialist in Classical Arabic Poetry, Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych has published extensively in English and Arabic. Her research is primarily concerned with the ritual, performance and performative underpinnings of classical Arabic poetry in its literary-historical settings. In studies ranging from the pre-Islamic tribal and royal ode of the Jahiliyya, to the court praise odes of the Islamic caliphate, the devotional poetry of the Medieval Period and the Neo-Classical ode of the Nahdah and Colonial period, she engages ritual theory, rite of passage, gift exchange and sacrificial rituals to reveal the socio-economic role of the qasida, the ceremonial aspects of qasida performance as a courtly negotiation of status and legitimacy, and the spiritually and politically transformative role of madih nabawi (praise poems to the Prophet Mohammad). Her courses include Poetry and Empire: the Arabic Ode; Poetry as Performance; Pre-Islamic Poetry: Orality, Ritual and Performance; Theoretical Approaches to the Arabic Ode; Modern Arabic Poetry; and Classical Arabic Literary Texts. She is currently working on a project on the transformation of Arabic poetics and aesthetics from Classical to Post-Classical the two poetry diwans of the celebrated blind Syrian poet, Abu al-‘Ala’ al-Ma‘arri (d. 1058 CE).

Associate Professors

Jonathan Brown

Associate Professor 
Email: brownj2@georgetown.edu

Jonathan Brown is the Alwaleed bin Talal Chair of Islamic Civilization in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and he is the Director of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding. He received his BA in History from Georgetown University in 2000 and his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2006. Dr. Brown has studied and conducted research in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, South Africa, India, Indonesia and Iran. His book publications include The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim: The Formation and Function of the Sunni Hadith Canon (Brill, 2007); Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oneworld, 2009; expanded edition 2017); Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011), which was selected for the National Endowment for the Humanities' Bridging Cultures Muslim Journeys Bookshelf; Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy (Oneworld, 2014), which was named one of the top books on religion in 2014 by the Independent; and Slavery and Islam (Oneworld, forthcoming 2019). He has published articles in the fields of Hadith, Islamic law, Salafism, Sufism, Arabic lexical theory and Pre-Islamic poetry and is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law. Dr. Brown’s current research interests include Islamic legal reform and a translation of Sahih al-Bukhari. He is also the Director of Research at the Yaqeen Institute.

Elliott Colla

Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies (website)
Email: Elliott.Colla@georgetown.edu
Interests: The links between social movements and literary production

Elliott Colla is associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is author of Conflicted Antiquities: Egyptology, Egyptomania, Egyptian Modernity, and essays on modern Arab literature, culture and politics. He has translated works of contemporary Arabic literature, including Ibrahim Aslan’s novel, The Heron, Idris Ali's Poor, Ibrahim al-Koni's Gold Dust, and Rab‘i al-Madhoun's The Lady from Tel Aviv. 


Felicitas Opwis 

Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Email: Felicitas.Opwis@georgetown.edu
Interests: The religious sciences of Islam and the historical, social, and political environment in which Islamic thought is articulated.

In her scholarly inquiries Felicitas Opwis addresses the religious sciences of Islam and the historical, social, and political environment in which Islamic thought is articulated. Her main research field focuses on Islamic jurisprudence, and in particular how the formulation of Islamic legal theory is related to intellectual discourse in other fields of Muslim learning, and to the political and social environment. She investigates how Islamic jurisprudents tackle the perpetual dilemma of achieving legal change without changing the scriptural foundations of the law. Through close comparative analyses she looks at how and why legal principles, such as public interest and juristic preference, change over time. Felicitas Opwis has published several articles and book chapters on questions of legal change in Islamic jurisprudence. These publications deal with the construction of authority within schools of law; re-interpretation of particular legal principles; whether or not a “reformation” has occurred in Islamic law; and the development of the concept of public interest/maslaha. She is currently preparing a book manuscript on the development of the concept of mas?lah?a in Islamic legal theory from the 10th to the 15th century.

Assistant Professors


Ahmad alqassas

Assistant Professor, Director of Arabic Studies
Email: aa1453@georgetown.edu
Interests: Arabic syntax, morphosyntax, acquisition, diglossia/variation

Ahmad Alqassas (Ph.D., Linguistics, Indiana University-Bloomington) does research on Arabic syntax, morphosyntax, acquisition and diglossia/variation. He brings data from dialectal and standard Arabic that bear on cross-linguistic phenomena related to the design of the language faculty. His research primarily investigates clausal architecture and structural dependencies in the major grammatical categories of Arabic. These categories include negation, tense/ mood/ aspect, negative sensitive items and coordination structures. His research on these categories investigates key issues in linguistic theory, particularly within Minimalist Syntax. Such issues include the role of linguistic parameters and interface effects in explaining the rich structural variation in Arabic. His book A Multi-locus Analysis of Arabic Negation: Micro-variation in Southern Levantine, Gulf and Standard Arabic has been published by Edinburgh University Press. His research includes the morphosyntax of agreement morphology in the nominal domain, such as numeral phrases and definiteness, and their role at the syntax-morphology interface within Distributed Morphology. His interests include the applications of linguistic theory to second/heritage language acquisition. He also teaches courses on Arabic linguistic analysis, dialectology, sociolinguistics, language policies/politics and political discourse.

Teaching Professors

Sylvia Önder

Teaching Professor (Turkish)
Email: onders@georgetown.edu

Dr. Sylvia Wing Önder has been teaching Turkish Language and Culture at Georgetown since the Fall Semester of 1998, when she created Georgetown's first Intensive Beginning Turkish class (6 credits per semester) and developed Intermediate and Advanced levels for growing numbers of students. Along with language classes, she has taught a range of classes in Turkish Culture, Cultural Anthropology, Central Asian Cultures, and seminars for the School of Foreign Service's Culture and Politics major. She has been offering a course in Medical Anthropology since 2009. Other courses include: "Europe and Islam: Orientalist Fantasies and Turkish Realities" "Anthropology and Islam" "Anthropology of Youth Cultures" "Cultures and Identities" (a collaborative course with Gallaudet University exploring Deaf Culture), and, starting in the Spring of 2015 "Culture and Disability". Dr. Önder's research is primarily ethnographic, including long term stays in a Turkish Black Sea village to study women's lives and traditional healing practices. Her current research interests include political cartoons, popular music videos, and political and artistic expressions of Turkish youth groups in Turkey and in Germany, and social constructions of disability. Dr. Önder is a member of the Disability Studies Working Group, a CSJ Faculty Fellow for Global Youth Activism, and has been a Faculty Fellow with the CNDLS ITEL, Doyle, and Engelhard programs. She currently serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Anthropology. Dr. Önder is the Coordinator of Small Program Languages in the Georgetown College, and, as such, assists the dedicated faculty in Catalan, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Polish, Swahili, Turkish, and Ukrainian. She has served in the past as Co-Director for the State Department's CAORC Turkish Critical Language Scholarship program. She currently is Project Director for the U.S. Department of Education's Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad ARIT Summer Fellowships Program for Intensive Advanced Turkish at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Associate Teaching Professors

Ghayda Al-Ali

Associate Teaching Professor
Email: ga411@georgetown.edu
Interests: News Discourse Analysis of Arabic print media and its interaction with the western media

Ghayda’s Ph. D. is in Sociolinguistic and Translation: English-Arabic-English. She is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. Her research interests lean heavily towards News Discourse Analysis of Arabic print media and its interaction with the western media. She has a strong passion to improve communications and understanding between two disparate cultures of the Arab and the Western. She is the winner of 2015 Georgetown ITEL Cohort Award and 2016 Doyle Faculty Cohort Award, and the 2017 CIBER Business Language Research and Teaching grants.

She is the author of:

- How Arab Journalists Translate English-Language Newspaper Headlines: Case Studies in Cross-Cultural Understanding, 2011
- The Translator of the Discourse and Power "الخطب و السطة"
- Hero or Terrorist? A comparative analysis of Arabic and Western Media Depictions of the Execution of Saddam and the Death of Zarqawi, 2013 -Villains, Victims, Labels and Euphemisms: An Analysis of Aljazeera Terror Terminology Variation by Event and Audience, 2015
- Arabic with Us, 2017

Photo of Islamic CaligraphyHanaa Kilany

Associate Teaching Professor
Email: hk229@georgetown.edu



Farima Mostowfi

Associate Teaching Professor and Head of Persian Language & Culture Program
Email: fsm7@georgetown.edu



Assistant Teaching Professors

Huda al-Mufti

Assistant Teaching Professor
Email: hwa2@georgetown.edu

Prof. Huda Al Mufti received her B.A. at Beirut Arab University in Arabic language and literature. She pursued her graduate work in U.S., received M.S. in education at Florida International University in Miami, FL 1985 and M.S. in Arabic at Georgetown University 1989. She has over 30 years experience teaching all levels of Arabic. Her teaching experience started at State of Kuwait, and continued at Florida International University, Arabic school in Washington D.C area, and Georgetown University. She did translation work from English to Arabic, and wrote many articles in the field of Education. Languages: Arabic (speak,read,write) Farsi (read,write)

Belkacem Baccouche

Assistant Teaching Professor
Email: baccoucb@georgetown.edu
Interests: Arabic Literature & Interpretation

After spending two years at the University of Baghdad, Iraq, where he majored in English and minored in Arabic, Belkacem Baccouche transferred to Kent State University where he received his BA in English. He then spent two years there working on an MA in Comparative Literature. He also pursued graduate work here at Georgetown by taking courses in the English department. His teaching experience started in Peace Corps training programs and continued at Kent State where he was a graduate assistant teaching French to PhD candidates in the Humanities and Sciences. At the Middle East Institute, he has taught all levels of Arabic, as well as other courses such as Tales from the Arabian Nights, Short Stories from North Africa, Arabic Composition, Readings in the Social Sciences, and Naguib Mahfouz in Film. At Georgetown, he has taught Business Arabic, Arabic Textual Analysis and Interpretation, Intermediate and Advanced Arabic. Since 1993, he has been associated with the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, teaching Intermediate and Advanced Arabic, as well as coordinating the MAAS Arabic Language program. He is committed to doing his best to bring Arabic closer to his students, while maintaining high standards. He has taken part in many conferences and workshops on language acquisition. He co-wrote Introduction to Modern Standard Arabic Conversation, Conversations in Modern Standard Arabic, and Business Arabic. He edited the Arabic text, and translated into English: 'Asir: Turath wa Hadara ('Asir: Heritage and Civilization) by Dr. Wahbi al-Hariri. He did extensive translation work from English to Arabic, and from Arabic or French to English, of materials dealing with economics, foreign trade, development, Int'l affairs, history and culture. From 1994-1999 he served as Director of the Georgetown Summer Arabic Institute. While a student at Kent State, he did some writing and reporting for the Voice of America, acted in French and English plays. He enjoys teaching, reading, music, poetry, and the cinema.


Photo of Professor Sara GraysonSara Grayson

    Lecturer of Hebrew

Sara Grayson received her M.A. and B.A. in Jewish Education and Jewish Studies, respectively, from Baltimore Hebrew University.

She has previously taught Hebrew language at American University in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore Hebrew University. She also taught an on-line Hebrew Instructor for the U.S. Air Force. She is a certified Oral Proficiency Interview Tester of Hebrew by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

EmerIti Faculty

Terrence Potter


Emeritus Teaching Professor
Email: Terrence.Potter@georgetown.edu
Interests: Teaching and learning of second languages, applied linguistics and onomastics (personal names)


Karin Ryding

Professor Emeritus
Email: rydingk@georgetown.edu

Karin Christina Ryding is professor emerita of Arabic linguistics in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. She holds a B.A. from Middlebury College, M.A. from The American University of Beirut, and Ph.D. from Georgetown University. From 1980-86, she was head of Arabic training at the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department. From 1995-98 she served as Dean of Interdisciplinary Programs at Georgetown. From 1996-2002, she was a member of the Georgetown University Board of Governors. For ten years she was chair of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at Georgetown, and from 1995-2008, she held the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Professorship of Arabic. Principal publications include "Arabic: A Linguistic Introduction" (Cambridge University Press 2014), "Teaching and Learning Arabic as a Foreign Language: A Guide for Teachers" (Georgetown University Press 2013), "A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic" (Cambridge University Press 2005), Formal Spoken Arabic: Basic Course (Georgetown University Press,1990, second edition, 2005), Formal Spoken Arabic: FAST Course (Georgetown University Press, 1993, reprint, 2004). Ryding was president of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic (AATA), 2007-2008. From 2005-07, she was principal investigator and project adviser to the Arabic Language Flagship Project at Georgetown, a full-year, intensive Arabic program to bring students from the intermediate to advanced or superior level of proficiency. Ryding was on the Executive Committee Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) from 1995-98, and on the Modern Language Association's Ad-Hoc Committee for Foreign Languages from 2004-06. From 2008-2013 she served on the Executive Council of the MLA. She currently sits on the Arabic language advisory board of AMIDEAST Education Abroad Programs, and on the Board of Directors of Georgetown University Press. In 2008, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from AATA as well as the Distinguished Service Award from the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics of Georgetown University.

Affiliated Faculty

John Esposito, Ph.D. Temple University (Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, SFS)
Yvonne Haddad, Ph.D. Hartford Seminary (Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, SFS)
Judith Tucker, Ph.D. Harvard University (Department of History)
John Voll, Ph.D. Harvard University (Department of History)

Associate Professors
Osama Abi-Mershed, Ph.D. Georgetown University (Department of History)
Rochelle Davis, Ph.D. University of Michigan (Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, SFS)
Paul Heck, Ph.D. University of Chicago (Department of Theology)
Daniel Madigan, Ph.D. Columbia University (Department of Theology)


Muhammad Kassab

Adjunct Instructor
Email: kassabm@georgetown.edu

Muhammad Kassab, Arabic Language Specialist, holds a B.A. from the Lebanese University and an M.A. from the American University of Beirut in Arabic Language and Literature. He also holds an M.A. in Arabic Thought and Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University and a Ph.d. in Arabic Language and Literature from Georgetown University. He previously taught different levels of Modern Standard Arabic at Columbia, Geogetown, and NYU before joining the GWU faculty in 2008. He has published articles about the classical dialects of medieval Arabic, linguistic variation, methodologies of teaching, and the image of the other and the interaction between the Arab world and Western modernity as described during the medieval period and 19th century Arabic writings.

A. Candan Kirişci

Main Campus Non-Ordinary -- Adjunct
Email: ak1787@georgetown.edu

A. Candan Kirişci holds a Ph.D. degree from the Department of Western Languages and Literatures at Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. She worked on “Nation-building and Gallipoli: Representations in Turkish, Australian and New Zealand Literatures,” and published articles on the topic. Kirişci has been based in the metro area since 2013. She is currently offering an advanced Turkish course focusing on improving language skills through the discussion of topics from contemporary Turkey. Kirişci has also been working as an Adult ESOL instructor in programs aiming to help immigrant communities in Maryland.

Joint Appointments

Meital Orr

Assistant Teaching Professor
Email: mo689@georgetown.edu

Meital Orr teaches Intermediate Hebrew and coordinates the Hebrew Program. She holds a doctorate from Harvard University and an M.A. from Columbia University. Previously, Dr. Orr taught at Harvard University’s Near East Languages and Cultures Department and at Columbia University’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies. Professor Orr has created and directs: Hebrew placement exams, Hebrew proficiency exams, weekly Hebrew conversation hour, the weekly Hebrew newsletter and Hebrew summer courses. She provides outreach for Georgetown Hebrew, nationally and internationally, through workshops, symposiums, conferences and publications. She also teaches a course on Israeli and Palestinian Literature and Film. Her recent publications focus on thematic intersections between Israeli and Palestinian literature and film, with a current project on the convergent experiences of Israeli and Palestinian women in 21st century literature and film.

Areas of expertise: Hebrew Language, Comparative Literature, Israeli Literature and Film, Palestinian Literature and Film


Nicholas Mangialardi


Mahdi Arar (2017/2018)

Scholar in Residence
Email: marar@sharjah.ac.ae
Interests: Linguistic studies, texts investigating, linguistic research, lexicography, and cultural studies on aspects of thought and philosophy of language, Quran studies, manuscripts.

qasim alhaddad (2016/2017)

Affiliate Faculty, Researcher

Jaroslav Stetkevych