MELC Updates 2023-2024

Submitted by Rick Aguilar on

Faculty Updates

Canan Bolel

  • Presented “The Foreigner Within: Ashkenazi Butchers, Sephardic Jews and Imageries of Foreignness in the Late Ottoman Empire” at Jews amidst the Embers of the Ottoman Empire, University of Washington, Seattle. May 21-22. 
  • Presented “The Unlikelihood of Wholeness” for Prof. Andrew Nestingen’s “The Nobel Prize in Literature” course on 1981 Nobel Laureate in Literature Elias Canetti.
  • Presented “No Place for Mazalto: Female Insanity and Asylum Overcrowding in Late Ottoman Istanbul” at the Inaugural Conference on Jewish Life in the Diaspora: Sephardic Lives, University of Virginia, November 6, 2023.
  • Organized a roundtable for the annual conference of the Association for Jewish Studies in San Francisco, titled “Pedagogical Approaches in Teaching Jewish Language Varieties,” December 18, 2023.

Hussein Elkhafaifi

Aria Fani

  • Many congratulations to Aria on the publication of his new book, Reading Across Borders: Afghans, Iranians, and Literary Nationalism (University of Texas Press, April 2024)! Find it here: Reading across Borders (

Selim S. Kuru

  • On a sabbatical leave. Awarded Visiting Fellowship, All Souls College, Oxford University (Fall 2023 - Winter 2024). Doing research in Istanbul Manuscript Libraries in May-June 2024 and will organize and teach at the 25th session of the Ottoman and Turkish Summer School in Cunda, Ayvalık, Turkey. 
  • Presented, “Empire and Poetics of Desire: Courtly Elite and Poetry in Early Ottoman Empire” All Souls College, Oxford University, 28 November 2023. 
  • Published “An Atlas of Desire: Enderunlu Fazıl’s View of the World from the late 18th Century,” in Susan Slyomovics ed., Ordering Imperial Worlds From Late Medieval Spain to the Modern Middle East (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2024), 135-164.
  • Published “Sex in Sixteenth-Century Istanbul” in Merry Wiesner-Hanks and Matthew Kuefler eds., Cambridge Histories of World Sexualities v. 3: Sites of Knowledge and Practice (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press March 2024), 191-209.
  • Work-in-Progress: “Shumen Eroticum in David Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark” Translation and analysis of one of the five works in an early 19th century Ottoman illustrated manuscript. In collaboration with Irvin Cemil-Schick and Tülay Artan. 
  • Work-in-Progress: “Empire and Poetics of Desire: Mehmed II, the Conqueror, as Poet” An article project on the analysis of the poetry by Mehmed II preserved in a unique manuscript and other sources and the conditions of possibility for the production of poetry by state elite. This is the first in a series of articles under the project “Empire and Poetics of Desire: Courtly Elite and Poetry in the Ottoman Empire 1450-1550).” 

Kathryn Medill

  • Awarded the 2023 William G. Dever Archaeological Fellowship for Biblical Scholars by the American Schools of Overseas Research, which funded a month of summer archaeological work at Tel Azekah, Israel, and a month of research in Jerusalem.
  • Published “Bring to the altar for burning or burn on the altar? Interpreting hiqtir hammizbeha,” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 49.2 (2023).
  • Presented “Goal-Marking in Biblical Hebrew Poetry” in the Linguistics & Biblical Hebrew Unit at the Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, 18 Nov 2023.

Scott Noegel

  • Published “Scale Scriptitious: The Concentration of Divine Power in the Ancient Near East,” Talanta 54 (2023).
  • Published “Not So Black and White: On Hair, Skin, Horses, and Heat in the Hebrew Bible,” in Ellena Lyell, ed., Colour and Culture: Polychromy and Perception in the Hebrew Bible (The Hebrew Bible in Social Perspective; London: Bloomsbury, T&T Clark, 2023). 
  • Published “From Rebellion and Death to Victory: On Appellative Paronomasia in Numbers 20-21,” in Advances in Ancient Biblical and Near Eastern Research.
  • Published “Near Eastern Poetics in Callimachus’ Hymn to Apollo,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 1113 (2022). Co-authored with James J. Clauss.
  • Published “Hidden Waters: The Sounds of Sinking in the Song of the Sea.” in Vincent Beiler and Aaron Rubin, eds., Linguistic and Philological Studies of the Hebrew Bible and its Manuscripts in Honor of Gary A. Rendsburg (Studia Semitica Neerlandica; Leiden: Brill, 2023), pp. 228-238.
  • Published “Hidden in Hides: An Unrecognized Motif of Deception in the Hebrew Bible,” in Yonatan S. Miller, ed., The Motif in Biblical Literature: Contours, Critiques, and New Horizons.
  • Published “‘To Make Them See Your Majesty’: The Visual Program of the ‘Poetical Stela’ of Thuthmosis III,” edited by Rita Lucarelli et al. (Oxford: ArchaeoPress).
  • Published “Antanaclasis in the Ugaritic Poetic Epics,” Ugarit Forschungen 54 (2023), in press. Volume will be backdated (and behind schedule).
  • Published “Eyelids of the Dawn,” in Andreas Johandi, ed., Biblical Job in the Literary  Network of the Ancient Near East (Kasion; Zaphon), in press.
  • Published “On the Dysphemistic Baal Names in 2 Samuel,” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 48 (2022), pp. 25-41.
  • Published “The Head of Anubis: A Curious Gift from Aegean Emissaries in the Tomb of Menkheperreseneb,” Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections.
  • Published “Joseph: Does His Ability to Interpret Dreams Represent Actual Divinatory Practice?” in Philippe Guillaume and Diana Edelman, eds., The Old Testament / Hebrew Scriptures in Five Minutes (Sheffield: Equinox, 2024), in press.
  • Published “Taxonomic Approaches to Biblical Animals,” in Suzanna Millar, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the Bible and Animals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024), in press.
  • Published “Multiple Meanings and Devices of Sound in the Book of Job,” in J. E. Harding, ed., Job (Themes and Issues in Biblical Studies; Sheffield: Equinox Publishing, 2024), in press.
  • Presented “Enkidu, Ishtar, Humbaba, and the Diviners: On Creature Taxonomy and the Mesopotamian Scholarly Imagination,” at Humanima Virtual Conference: The Bible and ‘Animal’ Others. University of Edinburgh. March 12, 2023.
  • Presented a virtual public introduction to my monograph, “Wordplay” in Ancient Near Eastern Texts, for MELC’s inaugural series “Conversations with Scholars.” March 15, 2023.
  • Presented “Ex Oriente Lux,” for the Department of Classics, University of Washington. May 18, 2023.
  • Presented “Ancient Near Eastern Poetic Repetition in the Light of Neuroscience,” at the Workshop on Repetition, Parallelism and Creativity: An Inquiry into the Construction of Meaning in Ancient Mesopotamian Literature and Erudition. University of Vienna. February 29, 2024.

Stephanie Selover

  • Currently a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University.
  • Won a Site Preservation Grant from the AIA to support conservation and community outreach at Khirbet al-Balu’a in Jordan.

Talant Mawkanuli

  • Presented “Jungar Tuvan: Devitalization vs. Revitalization” at the Symposium on Indigenous Languages in China and Taiwan: The Dynamics of Revitalization vs. Devitalization, at University of Washington, Seattle. May 11, 2023.
  • Presented “18th Century Spoken Qazaq Linguistic Data” at the 29th Annual Northwest Regional Conference for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at University of Washington, Seattle. April 21, 2023.
  • Presented “Decolonizing Central Eurasian Studies,” at the Roundtable: Decolonization and the Future of Our Field at the 29th Annual Northwest Regional Conference for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at University of Washington, Seattle. April 20, 2023.
  • Organized Symposium on Indigenous Languages in China and Taiwan: The Dynamics of Revitalization vs. Devitalization at University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. May 10-11, 2023.

Student Updates

Elizabeth Ferauge (M.A. student in Comparative Religion, working with several HBANES professors)

  • Won the Mortar Board Alumni and Tolo Foundation’s prestigious Dr. Eleanor Hadley Scholarship (2023-2024) for an Outstanding Student in International Studies.

Svetlana Ostroverkhova (Ph.D. student in Slavic Languages and Literatures)

  • Won the American Association of Teachers of Turkic (AATT)’s Redhouse Award for Best Progress in Turkish (2022-2023) after studying Turkish with Dr. Melike Yucel-Koc.

Sergen Avcı (NMES Ph.D. Student, Supervisor Selim Kuru)

  • Won a Míċeál Vaughan Award for Textual and Manuscript Studies for manuscript research in Turkey.
  • Won a Maurice and Lois Schwartz Fellowship that supported his attendance at the Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Fellowship in Cunda, Turkey in Summer 2023. 
  • Attended the "Thinking with Islamicate Manuscripts Workshop” in Vienna during Summer 2023 with support of the joint Austrian Academy of Sciences Institute of Iranian Studies and the Nomads’ Manuscripts Landscape Project fellowships (IIS-NML Scholarship).

Elyakim Souissa (MELC, M.A. 2024)

  • Attended Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Fellowship in Cunda.
  • Won Maurice and Lois Schwartz Fellowship and Opportunity Grant, Stroum Center for Jewish Studies for summer research in Turkey.
  • Awarded MELC Turkish and Ottoman Literary Fellowship for 2023-2024.

Jack Robinson (MELC M.A. 2023), 

  • Worked as a research assistant for the Svoboda Diaries Project for Winter and Spring Quarter 2023. His work serves as an important foundation for future projects involving automated textual analysis of historical corpora in Arabic.

Alumni Updates

Kearby Chess (MELC MA ?)

  • Started his doctoral studies at Princeton University in History.

Jocelyn Hendrickson (completed a BA in our department and in Comparative Religion in 1999; currently Associate Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Alberta) 

  • Awarded the Middle East Medievalists Book Prize for 2023. Her book, Leaving Iberia: Islamic Law and Christian Conquest in North West Africa, was published by Harvard University Press. Combining legal theory with social history, it focuses on legal opinions (fatwas) from Al-Andalus and North Africa.

Forrest Martin (MELC MA 2023)

  • Started his doctoral studies in Religion (focusing on Hebrew Bible) at Emory University.

Bret Windhauser (MELC MA 2020)

  • Started his doctoral studies at Columbia University in Middle Eastern Studies. Continues to contribute to the Svoboda Diaries Project housed at MELC as a member of the Content Team.