Faculty

  • 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.

    Select Publications:

    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.

    Select Courses:
    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)

  • Laurence is an alumnus of the Medieval and Renaissance MA program ('18).  He did his BA at CUNY Brooklyn College ('17- History, Classics, Religious Studies).  

  • Dr. Jeffrey Wayno is a historian of the European Middle Ages who has found a professional home working in the Columbia University Libraries. He received his A.B. from Princeton (2007), an M.A. 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's 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. His article, "Rethinking the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215," appeared in Speculum in 2018, and he is currently working on a book project about the practice of papal governance in the High Middle Ages.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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