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Meet the Speakers

Leading Historians, Anthropologists, and Political Scientists researching the Middle East


Yoav Alon

Dr. Yoav Alon is senior lecturer in modern history of the Middle East at Tel Aviv University. Having studied modern Middle Eastern history and political science at Tel Aviv University, he wrote his doctoral thesis at Oxford University on the creation of the modern Jordanian state under the British mandate, and the integration of the tribal population into the modern structures of the new state (2001). He teaches, researches, lectures and publishes on topics such as Jordanian history and politics, the British Empire in the Middle East, the Palestine mandate and tribal societies in the modern Middle East. Dr. Alon is the author of The Shaykh of Shaykhs: Mithqal al-Fayiz and Tribal Leadership in Modern Jordan (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016 and The Making of Jordan: Tribes, Colonialism and the Modern State (London: I.B. Tauris, 2007) as well as articles published in International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Die Welt des Islams, and Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. He is also the co-editor of Hamizrah Hehadash (The New East), Israel's leading journal in Middle Eastern studies.of the main features of Middle Eastern politics, society and culture.


Marieke Brandt

Marieke Brandt is a post-doc researcher at the Institute for Social Anthropology (ISA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. Her research focuses on tribalism, tribal genealogy and history, and tribe-state relations in Southwest Arabia. She was DAAD fellow in Sana’a, Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow of the European Commission and NFG award winner of the Austrian Science Fund FWF. She is the author of Tribes and Politics in Yemen: A History of the Houthi Conflict (Hurst/OUP 2017).


Haian Dukhan

Dr. Haian Dukhan is a teaching fellow in International Relations at the University of Leicester. Haian Dukhan holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of St Andrews. He has worked for governmental and non-governmental bodies inside and outside Syria for many years, on issues related to development, counterterrorism and peace settlement. He is currently teaching Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester and is engaged in a research project on the intersection between tribalism and sectarianism at the University of St Andrews. Dukhan has recently published a book titled: State and Tribes in Syria: Informal Alliances and Conflict Patterns


Diane King

Dr. Diane King is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include kinship, gender, the state, migration, and religion, borders, and citizenship. In particular, she works on collective identity categories within the modern Middle Eastern state. Dr. King is interested in the question of what cultural, social, and political outcomes patriliny engenders in the Middle East.
She is one of few anthropologists in the past century to do residential participant observation research in Kurdistan, the ethnic homeland of the Kurds encompassing parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Dr. King has several projects in process, all of which further anthropological scholarship on identity, kinship and the state.

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Nadav Samin

Dr. Nadav Samin is a historian of the Arabian Peninsula with a specialty in modern Saudi Arabia. His first book, Of Sand or Soil: Genealogy and Tribal Belonging in Saudi Arabia (Princeton, 2015), won a 2016 British-Kuwait Friendship Society award.  His articles on the history, culture, and politics of the Arabian Peninsula have appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History, Die Welt des Islams, British Journal of Middle East Studies, and other publications.  Mr. Samin has taught at Dartmouth College, New York University, and Hunter College, and was an SSRC Postdoctoral Fellow for Transregional Research.  He received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, and is an Affiliate of the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore.


Charles Schmitz

Charles Schmitz is professor of geography at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. He began his career in Yemen with grants from Fulbright and the American Institute for Yemeni Studies for research on southern agriculture during the transition from socialism in the early 1990s. In the late nineties, he followed the attempts of the international development agencies to reform the Yemeni economy, and recently Dr. Schmitz’ interests shifted to the sociology of Yemeni society including tribes and religious movements.


Andrew Shryock

Andrew Shryock is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He studies political culture in the Middle East, Arab and Muslim immigrants in North America, and new approaches to history writing. His books include Nationalism and the Genealogical Imagination: Oral History and Textual Authority in Tribal Jordan (1997), Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream (2000), Islamophobia/Islamophilia: Beyond the Politics of Enemy and Friend (2010), Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present (2011), and The Scandal of Continuity in Middle East Anthropology (2019).