Summer Alumni Newsletter
Our summer newsletter for NMC alumni and donors is now available. This edition explores our community's wide-ranging activities over the past year—in the classroom, in the field, and in the public eye. Topics include: student achievements, our growing Turkish Studies program, our researchers' diverse efforts to speak out on and intervene in the ongoing injustices in North Africa and the Middle East, and other reports from our partner societies.
SSHRC Doctoral Awards, 2015-16
Our students continue to pull in top awards from Canada’s premier agency for funding research in the social sciences & humanities. This spring, Pooriya Alimoradi Pilehrood and Dominique Langis-Barsetti were both awarded CGS Doctoral Scholarships to fund their work in, respectively, ancient Iranian history and Anatolian archaeology and geophysics. Jacques Boulet, Robert J. Martin, and Émilie Pagé-Perron have won SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships to support their work in, respectively, Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament theology, Syro-Palestinian archaeology, and Assyriology. We warmly congratulate all of our students for their impressive commitment to teaching, research, and public outreach.
Celebrating Recent PhD Graduates
Congratulations to Dr. Khalid Dinno on successfully defending his dissertation, The Syrian Orthodox Christians in the Late Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Periods: Crisis and Revival on June 29th (under the supervision of Professor Amir Harrak) as well as Dr. Mustafa Banister, who defended his dissertation, The Abbasid Caliphate of Cairo (659-923 / 1261-1517): History and Tradition in the Mamluk Court on July 8th (under the supervision of Professor Linda S. Northrup). Dr. Banister's dissertation was accepted as is—with no required corrections or modifications—by his examining committee.
On March 25th, recent alumnus Dr. Hamid Rezaei Yazdi published an article in Iranian Studies that in less than a month became the fourth most accessed article ever hosted on Taylor & Francis Online. Dr. Rezaei Yazdi defended his dissertation, Debating Iranians: The Discursive Practice of Munāzirah and the Making of Modern Iran, on December 5th, 2014, under the supervision of Professor Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi.
On April 2nd, Dr. Hicham Safieddine's dissertation was accepted as is, with no required corrections or modifications. Supervised by Professor Jens Hanssen, Dr. Safieddine's dissertation was entitled Economic Sovereignty and the Fetters of Finance: The Making of Lebanon's Central Bank. Pictured below are: Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi, James Reilly, Jens Hanssen, Paul Kingston, Dr. Safieddine, and Roger Owen (external examiner). Photograph courtesy and copyright of Prof. Reilly. View full list of dissertations defended in NMC >>
The Origins of Wine-Making
Dr. Stephen Batiuk's work on the spread of wine-making technology from the Caucasus through the Fertile Crescent was recently covered in a National Geographic feature on ancient viticulture, as well as in Arts and Science News, the in-house newswire of the Faculty of Arts and Science. Dr. Batiuk is part of an international team working at the site of Gadachrili Gora in southeastern Georgia, which has unearthed the earliest evidence of domesticated grapes (circa 6,000 BCE, according to carbon-dating analysis). He was recruited to join this project after authoring a ground-breaking article, which presented tantalizing evidence that migrants from the Caucasus helped to galvanize wine-making throughout eastern Turkey, Iran, Syria, and other parts of the Levantine world.
Professor Emerita (Wilfrid Laurier University) and NMC graduate faculty member Michèle Daviau and NMC Lab Technician and Collections Manager Stanley Klassen recently published an article in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (372: 99-122). Titled "Conspicuous Consumption and Tribute: Assyrian Glazed Ceramic Bottles at Khirbat al-Mudayna ath-Thamad," this study analyzes ceramic vessels found in a complex at the Iron Age site of Mudayna Thamad and sheds light on Assyrian influences on small polities in the southern Levant. Read more >>
News in Coptic Studies
Founded in 2009, the Canadian Society for Coptic Studies aims to bring together students and scholars interested in Coptic culture, history, language, and literature. On April 18th, CSCS held its 8th Annual Symposium, "Interchanges between the Coptic and Ethiopian Churches: Literature, Monasticism and Culture." This lively symposium featured a wide range of talks on church history, monasticism, liturgy, archaeology, and art history. Pictured above: Dr. Ramez Boutros (CSCS President and NMC lecturer), Joseph Youssef (CSCS Treasurer), Professor Ugo Zanetti, Fr. Bigoul elSuriani, Ihab Khalil (CSCS outgoing Treasurer), Dr. Mat Immerzeel, Dr. Helene Moussa (CSCS Secretary and Curator of St. Mark’s Coptic Museum), and Prof. Michael Gervers. Photograph copyright of Ihab Khalil.
On Sunday June 9th, the Coptic Christian Student Association (CCSA, at UTSC) and the Coptic Orthodox Students Association (COSA, on the St. George campus) hosted a very successful fundraiser for NMC's Coptic Studies Endowment Fund. Twelve volleyball teams consisting of Coptic student-athletes from across Southern Ontario participated in a lively tournament, the proceeds of which came to over $2,000. Dr. Helene Moussa spoke to a vast audience about ongoing efforts to endow and establish a degree program in Coptic Studies. The above photo of the winning team, "WatchTheseBaes," is courtesy of St. Mark's Coptic Museum.
News in Assyriology and Mesopotamian Studies
In April, Professor Grant Frame (University of Pennsylvania) was awarded a two-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant for his work on the Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Period (RINAP) Project. The RINAP Project grows out of work that Professor Frame conducted during his years at the University of Toronto as the administrator of the Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia (RIM) Project. RIM's archives are housed in our fourth-floor library and have served as an indispensable resource for many cohorts of students. We congratulate Professor Frame on his rich legacy in Mesopotamian Studies.
New content from RINAP is now online, including the royal inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 BC) and Shalmaneser V (726-722 BC), Sennacherib (704-681 BC), and Esarhaddon (680-669 BC). RINAP has also launched two new sub-projects: RINAP Sources and Scores.
NMC Sessional Lecturer postings for 2015-16 are now available. Please note: these are Unit 3 positions. Unit 1 Course Instructorships will be posted at a later date.
SSHRC Transregional Research Junior Scholar Fellowship: Inter-Asian Contexts and Connections, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Applications are due by 25 August 2015.
Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Undergraduate Education Award 2015. This award recognizes outstanding scholarship on teaching or other material contributions to undergraduate education in Middle East Studies. Deadline: 30 August 2015.
19th Annual Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology (SOMA). Theme: Time, Space, and People. To be held in Kemer/Antalya, Turkey (12-14 November 2015). Abstracts are due by 15 September 2015.
Conference on Islamic Philosophy from the 12th to the 14th Century. Venue: Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg for the History and Society during the Mamluk Era, 1250–1517. To be held at the University of Bonn, Germany (24-26 February 2016). Abstracts are due by 30 November 2015.