BA and MA, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; AM and PhD, Princeton University
Dr. Yitz Landes (he/him) is Assistant Professor of Rabbinic Literatures and Cultures. His research focuses on the premodern transmission of Jewish knowledge, primarily vis-à-vis the history of rabbinic education and the history of the Jewish book. Additionally, Dr. Landes works on the development of Jewish ritual and liturgy, topics he addressed in his first monograph, Studies in the Development of Birkat ha-Avodah (The Mandel Institute for Jewish Studies, 2018).
Dr. Landes received a BA in Talmud and Halakhah and Comparative Religion and an MA in Talmud and Halakhah and Late Antique Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as an AM and PhD in Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity from Princeton University.
At JTS, Dr. Landes teaches courses on classical and post-classical rabbinic texts, on Jewish Liturgy, on ancient Jewish History, and on Hebrew manuscript cultures. In addition, he teaches a semester of the Jewish Canon curriculum for freshman students in List College.
Dr. Landes’s current book project, based on his Princeton dissertation, traces the reception and transmission history of the Mishnah, the central work of the rabbinic canon, from its inception in late second-century Galilee until the publication of Maimonides commentary to the Mishnah in the 12th century. By uncovering the various ways in which people studied, memorized, copied, and cared for the Mishnah, Dr. Landes maps the spread of Rabbinic Judaism by providing a detailed picture of the history of rabbinic literacy and identity, taking into account the diversity of the various premodern Jewish communities located throughout the Mediterranean world. Dr. Landes also researches the textual criticism of various ancient and medieval Jewish works, and is co-editing a critical edition and translation of The Epistle of Pirqoi ben Baboi, a polemical letter from the turn of the 9th century that is crucial for understanding the spread of rabbinic practice and the reception of the Babylonian Talmud.
Research Interests: Pre-modern Chinese Literature, Cultural and Intellectual History with special attention to Fiction and Drama of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911)
Professor Wei Shang specializes in pre-modern Chinese literature and culture, especially the fiction and drama of the Ming and Qing dynasties. His research interests also include print culture, book history and intellectual history of the same period. His book “Rulin Waishi” and Cultural Transformation in Late Imperial China (2003) addresses the role of Confucian ritualism and fiction in shaping the intellectual and cultural changes of the eighteenth century. His other publications are concerned with Jin Ping Mei Cihua (The Plum in the Golden Vase), late Ming culture, fiction commentary, and medieval poetry, including Writing on Landmarks: From Yellow Crane Tower to Phoenix Pavilion (2020). He is the editor and co-editor of several volumes in both English and Chinese, and a contributor to The Cambridge History of Chinese Literature (2010).
Valentina Izmirlieva is a scholar of Balkan and Russian religious cultures with a strong background in critical theory and intellectual history. Two areas of specialization represent the scope of her teaching interests: the religious culture of the Orthodox Slavs with an emphasis on the medieval and early modern periods, and literary Modernism and Postmodernism with a focus on Vladimir Nabokov. Much of her research addresses cultural transfers among Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the context of multi-religious empires.
Research Interests: historian of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, whose research revolves around questions about the history of science and divination, history of mentalities and time, history of books/manuscripts and their readers, and social history of scholarship and education.
Research Focus: Medieval literature and culture, Fiction writing
On leave Fall 2023
Interests: Boccaccio Studies, Comparative Literature, Critical Philology, Dante Studies, Lyric Tradition, Medieval Literature, Petrarca Studies, Reception of Classics
Research Interests: specializes in English and French medieval literature and culture.
Research interests include: liturgy and music in medieval Western monasticism, particularly the abbey of Cluny; manuscript studies; music in the Iberian peninsula; music and childhood; and intersections of music with the visual arts.
Subhashini Kaligotla is an art historian of ancient and medieval South Asia. Her areas of expertise extend from the architecture of the early centuries BCE into the first millennium CE. Specific research interests include sacred spaces (Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Jaina); the agency of makers, materials, objects, and spaces; the dialogue between visual and textual representation; and historiography.
Research Interests: Medieval Art; Gothic Architecture, Social and Cultural History
Research Interests: 17th-century Dutch Art; European Cultural and Environmental History
Research Focus: Interrelation of dance and literature, especially in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. An expert in European dance notation systems of the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries, his work as a historian of dance and theater extends from early modern England to contemporary America. His research and teaching interests include the history and theory of dance and theater; dance in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries; book history, performance theory, and narrative theory; dance and theories of rights and race; embodiments of lyric verse; and animation.
Research Interests: literatures and cultures of medieval and early modern Iberia.
Research Interests: Middle-Period China, Social and Cultural History, Social Networks, Family and Kinship
Robert Hymes’ work focuses on the social and cultural history of middle period and early modern China, drawing questions and sometimes data from cultural anthropology as well as history, and using the methods of the local historian to study elite culture, family and kinship, medicine, religion, gender, and (currently) the changing role and form of Chinese social networks from the tenth through the seventeenth centuries. His monographs Statesmen and Gentlemen and Way and Byway won the Joseph Levenson Prize of the Association for Asian Studies for the best book on pre-1900 China in their years of publication.
Research Interests: Medieval Latin Church, the papacy and its documents and institutions, canon law, and medieval Latin manuscripts.
Homeric Poetry, Old English and Old Norse Poetry, Ancient and Medieval Myth and Epic, Historical Linguistics. Narrative and Rhetorical Theory
Research Interests: Middle Eastern history, the social and institutional history of Islamic countries, and the history of technology.
Research Interests: Specialization in English Renaissance poetry. Her work explores problems of aesthetics and the history of poetic forms.
Research Interests: Early Modern French literature and history
On Leave Fall 2021
Research Focus: linguistic, textual, bibliographical and religious relations between Southern Europe and the Muslim World, especially on the Italian and Latin translations of the Qur’an, as well as on the diffusion of Italian language and books in the Muslim Mediterranean (16th/17th century).
Research Interests: Shakespeare, Renaissance studies, Renaissance drama, History of rhetoric
His area of principal interest is medieval literature with a recent emphasis on transitions from 'medieval' to 'early modern.' His teaching and research have concerned the 'affiliated text,' with special attention to textuality and history and to genre and social change.
Research Interests: Medieval Spanish and comparative literature, Golden Age literature. Publications include: Desire and Death in the Spanish Sentimental Romance, 1440-1550; "Floire and Blancheflor" and the European Romance; articles in MLN, Hispanic Review, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies and Romance Quarterly. Current projects: Framed: Legal Fictions and Tale Traditions, Blood/Lust: Staging the Early Modern Mediterranean, and Tweaking the Saints' Tales.
Medieval Literature, medieval Women's Poetry and Prose, Anglo-Saxon Poetry, Critical Theory, Psychoanalytic Theory, Psychoanalysis and Cognitive Studies, Gender, Sexuality, Queer Theory, Feminism, Europe, Britain
Research Interests: professor, specializes in early modern European history and the history of science. Her current research focuses on attitudes to nature in early modern Europe and the Scientific Revolution, with particular attention to craft knowledge and historical techniques. She is founding director of The Making and Knowing Project, founding director of The Center for Science and Society, and chair of Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience.
Main Research Interests: Colonial Latin American literature and intellectual history; Medieval and Early Modern Spanish philosophy; literature, science, and technology; and poststructuralist philosophy and postcolonial theory.
On leave 2021-2022
Research Interests: specializes in medieval religious, intellectual, social and political history. Her research and teaching focuses on popular religion, political theology, criminal justice, medieval Italian communes and in particular the way the emerging universities influenced theo-political institutions of the medieval Latin Christendom.
Najam Haider, an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion, completed his PhD at Princeton University (2007), M.Phil. at Oxford University (2000), and BA at Dartmouth College (1997). His courses bridge the gap between the classical and modern Muslim worlds with a particular emphasis on the impact of colonization on Islamic political and religious discourse. Prof. Haider’s research interests include early Islamic history, the methodology and development of Islamic law, and Shi‘ism. His first book entitled The Origins of the Shi‘a was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011 and focused on the role of ritual and sacred space in the formation of Shī‘ī identity. His second book (Shī‘ī Islam – Cambridge 2014) offered a comprehensive overview of three branches of Shī‘ī Islam – Zaydī, Twelver, and Ismā‘īlī – through a framework of theology and memory. His current project focuses on the link between early Islamic historical writing and Late Antique and Classical Rhetoric.
Shī‘ī Islam: An Introduction (Cambridge 2014)
Law and Religion in Classical Islamic Thought, eds. Michael Cook, Najam Haider, Intisar Rabb, Asma Sayeed (Palgrave: 2013).
“The Geography of the Isnād: Possibilities for the Reconstruction of Local Ritual Practice in the 2nd/8th Century,” Der Islam 90 (2013):306-346.
“A Kufan Jurist in Yemen: Contextualizing Muhammad b. Sulayman al-Kufī's Kitāb al-Mutakhab,” Arabica 59 (2012): 200-17
The Origins of the Shi‘a: Identity, Ritual, and Sacred Space in 8th century Kufa(Cambridge 2011)
“The Wasiyya of Abu Hashim: A Case Study in the Transition from Polemic to Consensus History” in Studies in Islamic Culture and History, ed. Asad Ahmed, Michael Bonner and Behnam Sadeghi (Brill 2011).
“Prayer, Mosque, and Pilgrimage: The Emergence of Sectarian Identity in 2nd/8th century Kufa,” Islamic Law and Society, 16 (2009): 151-74.
“A Community Divided: An Examination of the Murder of Idris b. ‘Abd Allah (d. 175/791),” Journal of the American Oriental Society, 128 (2008): 459-76.
“On Lunatics and Loving Sons: A Textual Study of the Mamluk Historical Treatment of al-Hakim,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 18 (2008): 109-39.
Islam in the Post-Colonial World (REL 3311)
The Qur’an in Comparative Perspective (REL 3314)
Revival and Revolution in the Muslim World (REL 4313)
Exploring the Sharia: Topics in Islamic Law (REL 4322)
Shi'ism (REL 4335)
Scholarly interests lie at the intersection of religion, politics, and poetic form; additional interests include autobiography, intellectual history, and the history of criticism. Dr. Murray teaches and writes about the non-dramatic literature of early modern England.
Michael Waters studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Virginia, and the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, where he earned his PhD. Before coming to Columbia, he was the Scott Opler Research Fellow in Architectural History at Worcester College, University of Oxford. He has also held fellowships at the Villa I Tatti, American Academy in Rome, Scuola Normal Superiore di Pisa, and Sir John Soane’s Museum.
His current book project, Renaissance Architecture in the Making, focuses on fifteenth-century Italian building culture and issues of materiality. This includes the significance of building materials, methods of facture, and processes of construction; the development of building technology; the production of knowledge through architectural practice; questions of architectural mimesis; the exchange between architecture and other modes of artistic production; and the dynamics of architectural reuse. He is similarly interested in issues of architectural mobility in the pre-industrial world from the movement of materials to the prefabrication and transportation of whole buildings.
Waters has also worked extensively on the study of antiquity in the Renaissance and the use and transmission of early modern architectural prints, drawings, and treatises. In 2011, he co-curated the exhibit Variety, Archeology, and Ornament: Renaissance Architectural Prints from Column to Cornice with Cammy Brothers at the University of Virginia Art Museum. His current research on this subject broadly traces the origins, production, circulation, replication, and transformation of mechanically produced architectural images over the long sixteenth century. In doing so, this project seeks to understand how prints were integrated into the inherently transmedial processes of architectural design, production, and exchange.
Research Interests: Transmission and diffusion of rituals and deities to Japan, local religious traditions, urbanization and theological innovation
Michael Como’s recent research has focused on the religious history of the Japanese islands from the Asuka through the early Heian periods, with a particular focus upon the Chinese and Korean deities, rites and technological systems that were transmitted to the Japanese islands during this time. He is the author of several articles on the ritual and political consequences of the introduction of literacy, sericulture and horse-culture from the Asian sub-continent into ancient Japan. He is currently working on a new monograph that focuses upon urbanization and the materiality of performance and interpretation in Japanese religion in the eighth and ninth centuries.
Research Interests: specialist in Renaissance and Baroque European art, with a focus on art in fifteenth-, sixteenth-, and seventeenth-century Italy.
Research Interests: intersections of Arabic literature and Islamic thought in the pre-colonial period. In particular, his first book project explores the vast commentary tradition on the Maqamat of al-Hariri, a collection of Arabic trickster stories written in the 12th century that was a canonical text of Islamic education until the 19th century
Specializes in social, economic, legal, and women’s history in northern Europe during the late medieval and early modern centuries, concentrating on the Burgundian Netherlands, northern France, and Germany.
Historian of South Asia and the littoral western Indian Ocean world from 1000-1800 CE. His areas of specialization include intellectual history in South and Southeast Asia; critical philosophy of history, colonial and anti-colonial thought. He is interested in how modern and pre-modern historical narratives create understandings of places, communities, and intellectual genealogies for their readers.
As a medievalist and a scholar of premodern Chinese literature, Lu Kou’s research interests include medieval Chinese literature and culture, poetry and poetics, historiography, and comparative studies of China’s Middle Period and medieval Europe. He is currently at work on two book projects: War of Words: Courtly Exchange, Rhetoric, and Political Culture in Early Medieval China, which examines the “discursive battles” fought among rival states in China’s early medieval period and investigates how rhetoric constructed and contested political legitimacy in this age of multipolarity; and (tentatively titled) Locked Seal, Heart of Poetry: Bureaucracy and the Representation of Work in Medieval Chinese Poetry, 400-900 CE, which studies the dialectic between poetry and bureaucratic systems, between the lyrical and quotidian renderings of “work” in medieval poetry. Before joining the faculty at Columbia, he was Assistant Professor of Chinese at Bard College (2019-2022) and Visiting Assistant Professor at Williams College (2018-2019).
Academic Focus: French language & literature
On leave Spring 2022
Research Interests: Early Modern Drama, Shakespeare, Theatricality and Performance, The Intersection of Culture and Intellectual Histories, Renaissance/ Early Modern, Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies
Research Interests: Shakespeare and Renaissance literature, Black feminism, Critical race theory, Slavery, Material culture, Depictions of race in literature
Research Interests: historiography and philosophy of art history, as well as on sixteenth century painting and prints in Northern Europe.
Research Interests: Ancient and Renaissance Literary Theory, Renaissance Humanism, History of Hermeneutics and the Rhetorical Tradition
Professor Peters (BA Yale, PhD Princeton, JD Columbia) specializes in a number of fields that traverse traditional period divisions: law and humanities; drama, theatre, and performance; and film and comparative media. Her most recent book is Law as Performance: Theatricality, Spectatorship, and the Making of Law in Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Europe (Oxford University Press, 2022). Previous publications include Theatre of the Book: Print, Text, and Performance in Europe 1480-1880 (Oxford University Press, 2000) (winner of the ACLA's Harry Levin Prize, English Association's Beatrice White Award, and honorable mention from ASTR for the best book in theatre history), Women's Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives (co-edited, Routledge, 1995), Congreve, the Drama, and the Printed Word (Stanford UP, 1990), and numerous articles on comparative media, the history of drama and performance, and the cultural history of law. She has taught at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Siena, and been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, American Philosophical Society, American Council of Learned Societies, Humboldt Foundation, and the Harvard University and Folger Libraries. At Columbia, she currently serves as Co-Chair of the Theatre Ph.D. Program, has served as Associate Chair of the English Department, and was the Founding Director of the Columbia College Human Rights Program. She is currently working on a book on the ethics and politics of law as media spectacle (policing, trials, and punishment).
Research Interests: 16th and 17th Century English Literature, Women's Literature, Protestant Culture, Cultural Studies, Feminist Theory, Gay and Lesbian Studies, Renaissance/ Early Modern, Gender, Sexuality, Queer Theory, Feminism, Europe, Britain
Scholarly interests center on medieval intellectual history, with special interests in the history of science and the history of economic and political thought.
Faculty member of the department 1963-2006.
Research Interests: Comparative Medieval Literature including Dante, Provençal Lyric, Allegory, Epic, Romance, Medieval Women; also taught Women, Religion, and Human Rights.
Research Interests: the Renaissance romance epic (primarily Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso) and its performance traditions in the Mediterranean.
Jeffrey Wayno is a historian of the European Middle Ages who works as a librarian and curator in the Columbia University Libraries. He received his A.B. in history from Princeton (2007), an M.A. in Medieval Studies from University College London (2009), and his Ph.D. in medieval history from Columbia (2016). As the Collection Services Librarian at The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University Libraries, he is responsible for both Burke's general and special collections, as well as the ancient, medieval, and religious studies collections at Butler Library, including the Ancient & Medieval and Papyrology & Epigraphy Reading Rooms. Burke, which is one of the largest theological libraries in the Western Hemisphere, houses a fascinating collection of rare materials, including Greek papyri, medieval and early modern manuscripts, incunables, and other early printed works. Jeffrey would be delighted to teach and consult on rare materials sessions based on these collections, and to provide research and teaching support for faculty and students in any field touching religion or the history and culture of the ancient and medieval worlds.
Outside of his work in the Libraries, Jeffrey regularly teaches Literature Humanities in Columbia's Core Curriculum. His research focuses on the institutional, religious, and legal history of the medieval Church; the medieval papacy; and the history of communication in the rough period 1000 to 1300. In addition to his 2016 dissertation, "Communication and the Limits of Papal Authority in the Medieval West, 1050-1250," he is the author of "Rethinking the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215," which appeared in Speculum in 2018, and "Governing Through Influence at the Thirteenth-Century Papal Court," which is forthcoming in the Journal of Medieval History. Currently, he is researching messengers as agents of political communication in the premodern world.
Research Interests: Renaissance/ Early Modern, Drama, Theater and Performance Studies, Political Theory, Marxism and Critical Social Theory, New Historicism, Gender, Sexuality, Queer Theory, Feminism, Europe, Britain
Teaching interests include Shakespeare, Tudor and Stuart drama, Early Modern poetry, modern drama, feminist and Marxist theory, and the history of feminism.
Research Interests: Shakespeare, Drama, Theater and Performance Studies, The Book Review, Renaissance/ Early Modern Europe
the relationships among Hebrew, Arabic, and Romance literary traditions of the medieval Mediterranean.
Isabelle Levy (BA Columbia; PhD Harvard) is Academic Program Director and Lecturer at the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University. She has held positions as fellow at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America and Stanley A. and Barbara B. Rabin Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, both at Columbia. She was previously a Fulbright fellow in Spain. She is the author of Jewish Literary Eros: Between Poetry and Prose in the Medieval Mediterranean (Indiana University Press, 2022) and has published articles in Medieval Encounters; La Corónica; A Comparative History of Literatures in the Iberian Peninsula, Volume II; and Digital Dante.
Research focus: Late Antique, Early Medieval, and Byzantine art and architecture, more specifically, on the cult of relics, reliquaries, and issues of cultural and artistic exchange.
Sarah Kay is a visiting faculty member in Spring 2023. She has taught and published on a wide range of literary texts in Medieval French and Occitan, and more lately Latin, typically approaching them in tandem with philosophical or reflective writings from antiquity to the present day. Her most recent book, published last July, is titled Medieval Song from Aristotle to Opera and comes with a companion website of recordings. Her current project is on the mediation of medieval astronomy by the other arts -- both the liberal arts, of which it is often the crowning discipline, and other art forms, including painting, poetry, and music.
Research Interests: Japanese Literature, Print Culture, Performance and Media
Haruo Shirane, Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University, teaches and writes on premodern and early modern Japanese literature and culture, with particular interest in prose fiction, poetry, performative genres (such as storytelling and theater), and visual culture. He is finishing a book called Media, Performance, and Play: Japanese Culture from Outside In, which focuses on the role of manuscript culture, media, vocality, and performance, viewing cultural processes from the social periphery. Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons (Columbia University Press, 2012) explored the cultural constructions of nature across a wide spectrum of literature, media, and visual arts from the ancient period to the modern. Most recently, he has coedited Monsters, Animals, and Other Worlds: A Collection of Short Medieval Tales (Columbia University Press, 2018); Reading The Tale of Genji: The First Millennium(Columbia University Press, 2015); and Cambridge History of Japanese Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
Haruo Shirane has been engaged in bringing new approaches to the study of Japanese literary culture. This has resulted in Japanese Literature and Literary Theory (Nihon bungaku kara no hihyo riron, Kasama shoin, 2009, edited with Fujii Sadakazu and Matsui Kenji) and New Horizons in Japanese Literary Studies (Bensei Publishing, 2009), both of which explore new issues and methodologies in the study of print and literary culture. He also edited Food in Japanese Literature (Shibundo, 2008), Overseas Studies on The Tale of Genji (Ofu, 2008) and Envisioning The Tale of Genji: Media, Gender, and Cultural Production (Columbia University Press, 2008). The latter two books analyze the impact of The Tale of Genji on Japanese cultural history in multiple genres and historical periods.
Haruo Shirane translated and edited a number of volumes on Japanese literature. These include Classical Japanese Literature, An Anthology: Beginnings to 1600 (Columbia University Press, 2006), Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900 (Columbia University Press, 2002; abridged edition, 2008), The Tales of the Heike (Columbia University Press, 2006, paperback 2008), and The Demon at Agi Bridge and Other Japanese Tales (Columbia University Press, 2010), a collection of setsuwa (anecdotal literature).
He is also deeply involved with the history of Japanese language and pedagogical needs and have written Classical Japanese Reader and Essential Dictionary (2007) and Classical Japanese: A Grammar (Columbia University Press, 2005).
Haruo Shirane is the recipient of Fulbright, Japan Foundation, SSRC, NEH, and Hakuhodo grants, and has been awarded the Kadokawa Genyoshi Prize, Ishida Hakyo Prize, and most recently the Ueno Satsuki Memorial prize (2010) for outstanding research on Japanese culture. He is presently the Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.
On Leave Spring 2022
B.A., Boston University, 2009; M.A., University of Toronto, 2014; Ph.D (Romance Languages) Harvard, 2019.
Hannah Weaver teaches and writes about the literature of medieval Europe, particularly the regions now known as England and France. Her research concerns genre, language, and manuscripts. Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in in JMEMS, Viator, Manuscript Studies, Arthuriana, and the Harvard Library Bulletin, and she has co-edited a special issue of The Medieval Globe called Medieval Re-Creation: Acts of Recycling, Revision, and Relocation (with Joseph Shack). She is working on a monograph on the history of the textual practice of interpolation and interpolative revisions of the history of Britain with the working title The Interpolated Past: Revision, Narrative, and Time in Medieval Histories of Britain.
On Leave until September 2022
Research Topics: Art and Architecture of the European Middle Ages. His teaching has so far covered areas such as medieval eschatology and images of the end of times; mysticism and the sublime in medieval art; the history of medieval sculpture; late medieval altarpieces; conceptions of the natural world in the Middle Ages; Gothic cathedrals; and portrayals of sin and sodomy.
Research Interests: the Italian madrigal, the relationship between music and language in the early modern period, early opera, and Renaissance theories of cognition and sense perception
Research Interests: Jews and Arabs, Political Theology, Race and Religion, Christianity, Continental Philosophy
Research Interests: development of scientific ideas from late antiquity to early modern times, with a special focus on the transmission of astronomical and mathematical ideas from the Islamic world to Renaissance Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Research Interests: analyses the role and transformations of religion in European society in the later Middle Ages and Reformation periods. His academic research first began in the area of religious dissent, especially the Waldensian heresy. He also investigates the relationship between theology and popular belief through the debates over "superstition" from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment. This work reviews how the debates over "superstition" helped to define the nature and boundaries of religious belief through several centuries of dramatic change.
Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Collections
Research Interest: Specialist in biblical studies, late ancient Christianity, feminist/gender studies in religion, and theory and method in the study of religion. She is particularly interested in the reception history and "afterlives" of biblical and early Christian texts— how the Bible and early Christian sources are cited and recycled in contemporary social, political, and cultural expressions and debates.
Specialist of medieval French and Occitan literature, with a particular focus on animal studies, cultural and linguistic contact, and gender and sexuality.
On Leave Academic Year 2022-2023
Research Interests: specializes in the cultural, intellectual, and religious history of the Jews in Early Modern Europe. Areas of particular interest include the intersection of Jewish and Christian culture and its effect on notions of tolerance, religious dissent, conversion, messianism, and communal governance.
Research Interests: Poetry and Poetics, Drama, Theater and Performance Studies, Ancient and Medieval Myth and Epic, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Science and Environmental Studies, Law and Humanities, Philosophy, Aesthetics, History of Ideas and Sociology of Knowledge
Elaine van Dalen is assistant professor of Classical Islamic Studies in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. She is a philologist working on medical, botanical, and agricultural texts from the Classical Islamic world. Her research questions relate to the transmission and translation of knowledge, history of scholarship and writing, history of ideas, and philosophy of science. She teaches Columbia’s Contemporary Civilization course, and MESAAS’ core course Asian Humanities.
Prof. van Dalen received her PhD in Classics and Ancient History from the University of Manchester in 2017. She obtained BA degrees in Arabic and Hebrew & Aramaic Languages and Cultures from Leiden University, Netherlands (2011), and an MA in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo (2014). She was the recipient of the Magda Nowaihi Award in gender studies in 2014. Before joining MESAAS, she taught at the universities of Edinburgh and Manchester, and she was a postdoctoral fellow in the ERC project PhilAnd at the Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium, during 2018.
Van Dalen is currently completing her first monograph which explores the social function of the medical commentary in classical Islamic medical teaching and research. She is also writing on topics relating to early Islamic botanical theory and classical Islamic medical philology, and she has articles forthcoming on epistemology in the Nabatean Agriculture, and the medieval Hebrew witnesses of the Arabic Palladius. Other publications include:
2019. “Pediatrics in Classical Islamic Theoria,” in: JAOS, forthcoming
2019. Co-authored with Samuel C. Barry and Hussain al-Qarni, The Book of Silk Brocade, A Translation and Critical Edition (Jeddah: King Abdulaziz University Press).
2017. “Subjectivity in Translation: Ḥunayn Ibn Isḥāq’s 9th-century Interpretation of Galen’s “Ego” in his Commentary on the Hippocratic Aphorisms,” in: Oriens 45, 53–79.
2017. Co-authored with Peter Pormann et al., “The Enigma of the Arabic and Hebrew Palladius,” in: The Intellectual History of the Islamicate World 5(3), 2017, 252–310.
Research Interests: English Language including Anglo-Saxon and Middle English, Bibliography, Textual Criticism, English Translations of the Bible, Medieval Literature
Japanese History and Literature, Technology of Language in Premodern Japan
In addition to the history of writing systems and literacy, David Lurie’s research interests include: the literary and cultural history of premodern Japan; the Japanese reception of Chinese literary, historical, and technical writings; the development of Japanese dictionaries and encyclopedias; the history of linguistic thought; Japanese mythology; and world philology.
On leave 2021-2022
Research Interests: Best known for his work on psychological responses to art, and particularly for his studies on iconoclasm and censorship, specialization in the history of Dutch printmaking, and in the paintings and drawings of Bruegel and Ruben, seventeenth century Roman art and to the paintings of Nicolas Poussin. Most recent work focuses on the history of science and on the importance of the new cognitive neurosciences for the study of art and its history.
On Leave 2021-2022
Research Interests: historian of Britain and the British empire, principally in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with special emphasis on the comparative history of slavery and abolition, and with secondary interests in the Atlantic Slave Trade and the Age of Revolutions. His current research centers on the history of European experience on the African coast at the height of the Atlantic slave trade, and continues early commitments to the rise and fall of slavery in the British Empire.
Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English at Barnard College and Columbia University
Research Interests: Medieval Literature and Manuscript Studies, Classical Tradition, and Disability Studies
Research Interests: Early Modern Philosophy, History of Platonism, History of Gender, Late Medieval Meditative Traditions
Specialization in the colonial history of Latin America. Her interests include indigenous populations and the study of sources in Nahuatl (indigenous language of central Mexico), social history, household and material culture, religion and gender. Professor Pizzigoni's interview with New Book Network on her book The Life Within can be found here. Her current research focuses on household saints in colonial Mexico.
On Leave Spring 2023
Research Interests: religious, cultural, social, and intellectual history of western Europe from late antiquity to the end of the sixteenth century. In the 1980s and 1990s her work on gender and the history of the body established some of the paradigms still used in medieval studies. Recently her research has focused on devotional practices, especially devotional objects, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. She is currently exploring the paradox of Catholic survivals, including the survival of women’s monasticism, in Protestant Germany.
On Leave Academic Year 2022-2023
Research Interests: Medieval Latin literature, Transmission of texts and manuscript studies, Greek and Latin hagiography, Study of the Bible in the early Middle Ages, Early medieval Rome. Bede
Carmela Vircillo Franklin received her B.A. and Ph.D. in Classics (Medieval Latin) from Harvard University. She joined the Columbia faculty in 1993. From July 1, 2005 until September 2010, she served as the 20th Director of the American Academy in Rome.
Her research focuses on medieval Latin texts and their manuscripts, and much of it is conducted in Europe’s great manuscript repositories, especially the Vatican Library and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Among her recent publications are The Latin Dossier of Anastasius the Persian: Hagiographic Translations and Transformations (2004), which follows an interdisciplinary approach to early medieval culture, transcending traditional linguistic and geographical boundaries; and Material Restoration: An 11th Century Fragment from Echternach in a 19th Century Parisian Codex (2009), a study in “material philology.”
She is now engaged in a book project provisionally entitled “The Liber pontificalis of Pandulphus Romanus: From Schismatic Document to Renaissance Exemplar,” centered on the redaction of the papal chronicle created during the schism of 1130.
Research Focus: European history, History of Ideas, Economic history, History of political economy. Specialization in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Europe, with a focus on intellectual history and political economy. He is particularly interested in the historical development of money and credit, as well as attempts to theorize these phenomena.
Research Interests: Artistic interactions in the Mediterranean basin, migration of objects, and medieval aesthetics. He has published extensively on medieval Islamic, as well as Jewish and Christian art
Sixteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century French literature; literary theory
Research Interests: English Renaissance, Spenser, Satire, Anglo-French relations, Renaissance humanis, Women in the early modern period
Assistant Professor | Columbia University
A.B., Harvard College (2013)
Ph.D., Harvard University (2020)
Asian Philosophy (esp. Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy)
Early Modern Philosophy (esp. Locke)
Allison Aitken joined the Philosophy department in 2021. Her research centers on non-standard theories of relations and dependence structures in the history of metaphysics, both South Asian as well as early modern European. She is currently working on two projects: the first is a defense of the Madhyamaka Buddhist ontological dependence structure understood as a kind of metaphysical indefinitism; the second is an interpretation of the Lockean person as a relation. Before coming to Columbia, Professor Aitken was a Bersoff Faculty Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at New York University.
Gevork M. Avedissian Associate Professor of Armenian History and Civilization
Alison Vacca is a historian of early Islam working on the caliphal provinces Armenia and Caucasian Albania. According to ʿAbbasid-era Arabic geographies, Armenia included what is now the modern Republic of Armenia and eastern Turkey. The neighboring Caucasian Albania (Arrān) stretched over the modern Republic of Azerbaijan and eastern Georgia. Her work centers on several themes, including intercultural transmission of historical texts, quick-changing alliances in moments of intercommunal violence, and intermarriage across ethnic and religious lines.
Vacca’s first monograph, Non-Muslim Provinces under early Islam: Islamic Rule and Iranian Legitimacy in Armenia and Caucasian Albania, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017 and received the 2018 prize from the Central Eurasian Studies Society. In this book, she relies on Armenian and Arabic sources to investigate the regional memories of the pre-Islamic Sasanian past as a way to discuss the role of Iranian traditions in narrating caliphal history. She also recently completed a collaborative project to edit and translate an eighth-century Armenian history of the early Caliphate based on the oldest extant manuscript, as well as editions and translations of the correspondence attributed to the Umayyad caliph ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (r. 717-20) and the Byzantine emperor Leo the Isaurian (r. 717-41). She is currently working on another monograph project exploring the relationship between ethnicity, religion, gender, and rank in self-representation in various descriptions of intermarriage along the Khazar frontier.
In addition to her research agenda, she edits al-ʿUṣūr al-Wusṭā, the open-access, peer-reviewed journal of the Middle East Medievalists.
Ali Karjoo-Ravary specializes in intellectual, social, and visual histories of premodern Islam in Arabic, Persian, and Turkic language sources. He is particularly interested in genres of historical writing, the role of cosmology in politics, Sufism, and multilingual poetry in the Islamic East (Mashriq). His book, currently titled Muhammad’s Song: Politics, Performance, and Cosmology in the Fourteenth Century, examines the formation of post-Mongol Islamic monarchy through the life and rule of Kadi Burhaneddin, a scholar turned poet-king in Anatolia whose writing and reception prefigured many of the hallmarks of later Islamic empires. Karjoo-Ravary’s research has been featured in a number of scholarly and popular venues, including bylines in Slate and AlJazeera English, as well as interviews with the BBC and CBC.
Research interests: Parchment making and its history, the history of bookbinding, historical techniques of pigment manufacture, book restoration for collectors in the early modern period.
Alexis Hagadorn is the Head of Conservation for the Columbia University Libraries, where she has worked as a rare books conservator since 1997. She received an A.B. from Barnard College, and an M.S. and Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the Columbia School of Library Service, where she spent a final placement year working in the Conservation Laboratory of Trinity College Dublin under the direction of Anthony Cains. She has worked as a rare books conservator at Yale University, also serving as the first Head of Collection Care in its Library. In her role within the Columbia University Libraries, she leads a team of conservators and technical staff who treat and care for all of the physical collections, and she frequently consults on questions of material identification and analysis. Outside of Columbia, she serves on the visiting faculty of the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and the Pratt School of Information, where she lectures on library conservation, parchment making, and the history of bookbinding.
Research Interests: the theory, practice and display of the arts in the early modern times, with a special emphasis on the artistic dynamics in the context of the Iberian expansion.
Research Interests: Early Modern English Literature and culture, Manuscript Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies, Renaissance/ Early Modern, Europe, Gender and Sexuality, Queer Theory, Feminism, History of the Bool and Manuscript Studies
On leave 2022-2023
Research Interests: Specializes in the institutional and legal history of medieval Europe, with a focus on Catalonia and the Mediterranean
Research Interests: Milton, Donne, seventeenth-century literature and nation-formation, and Christian/Jewish relations and religious identities in the early modern period.
Profiles, showing -