Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies
Office: S-307 Callaway Center
I earned my BA (2000) and MAT (2001) from Duke University and PhD (2014) in History from Emory University. In 2019 I returned to Emory as assistant professor with a joint appointment in the department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies and the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies with a focus on the history of Jews in the Islamic World. My research and teaching integrate the study of the medieval Middle East into a global perspective that emphasizes cross-cultural interaction and inter-regional connections.
My current book project "Slavery and Mastery in Medieval Egypt: Enslaved Lives and the Global Reach of the Slave Trade, 11th-13th Centuries" is a history of domestic slavery based on a cache of documents that come from the Cairo Geniza, a storeroom for disused manuscripts housed in a medieval Egyptian synagogue. My findings illustrate how enslaved people were trafficked from regions including Europe, Africa, and India to Cairo, an imperial capital. Enslaved people shaped their everyday life by navigating household politics as well as Muslim and Jewish courts. From their owners' perspectives, slaves were integrated into family life in ways that resembled kinship. Male and female masters used slavery variously to construct gendered notions of honor and to increase their social capital. I am also co-editor (with Emory Professor Emeritus David Eltis) of volume 2 of the Cambridge World History of Slavery on the medieval period and the author of several articles and book chapters on the history of slavery in Jewish and Islamic contexts.
Before I decided to do a PhD in History, I taught high school social studies in locations including Bethesda, MD, Los Angeles, CA, and Casablanca, Morocco. I remain passionate about teaching and mentoring of both undergraduate and graduate students. In my classroom, I promote active and collaborative learning as well as a focus on the essential skills - such as close-reading, critical thinking, and effective communication - that all students need to master. My classes tackle "big questions" concerning the development of human societies, the study of intercultural relations, and the nature of historical knowledge itself. But, as in my research, we try never to lose sight of people and how individuals have both experienced historical change and shaped their own daily lives on the ground.