Professor Leisten holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies and Islamic Art History from Eberhardt-Karls-Universität in Tübingen. His main interest focuses on the Middle East in late Antiquity and the arts of the Sasanian, Umayyad and early Abbasid empires. His courses at Princeton include survey courses on early and later Islamic art, undergraduate seminars on the history of illustrated manuscripts and calligraphy in the Islamic world, and graduate seminars on medieval and pre-modern urbanism in the Middle East as well as various archaeological topics. Professor Leisten has worked on excavations in Syria, Pakistan, and Iraq, and is director of the ongoing excavation at Balis, Syria (Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad, Aiyubid), a cooperative project of Princeton University and the Syrian Directorate of Antiquities. He is currently involved in the development of archaeological research, site management, and museums in the Gulf state of Qatar.
RECENT PUBLICATIONS: "For Town and Country(side)? Maslama ibn Abdalmalik and the Umayyad Complex at Balis," Proceedings of the Conference on Umayyad Architecture in Syria, in Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Damaskus 31 (2007), 27-43. "Mshatta, Samarra, and al-Hira: Ernst Herzfeld's Theories Concerning the Hira-Style Revisited," in A. Gunter and S. Hauser (eds.) Ernst Herzfeld and the Development of Near Eastern Studies 1900-1950 (London, 2005), 371-384."Turba" for Encyclopedia of Islam (2nd edition), vol 8; "The Architecture of Samarra. Results of the German Excavation in Samarra 1911-13," Vol. 1: The First Campaign 1910-12 (Mainz); "Preliminary Report on the Excavation at Balis, 1996, 1999", Berytos; and "Baghdad um 800: Streiflichter auf das Leben in Palaesten und Hütten," in W. Dressen, G. Minkenberg and G. Oellers (eds.), Ex Oriente. Isaak und der weisse Elefant (Mainz, 2003) vol. 3, 80-95.