- Near Eastern Studies
Title: Lecturer in Near Eastern Studies.
- Arabic-language teaching
- Ottoman Levant
- Translation and translators
Office: 11 Dillon Court West
Office Hours: M 11:00 - 12:00 and by appt.
I first visited the Middle East just before Christmas in December of 1992. My flight was delayed, so my first cultural experience in the region was spent eating a complimentary breakfast in the early morning light of a deserted dining hall at the Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan. The view of the vast, desolate rock-strewn landscape was peaceful and only interrupted by the discordant sounds of Christmas carols emanating from a nearby plastic Christmas tree. Soon the tranquillity would be lost in the never ending buzz of Cairo, my experiences of which only built upon the contrasts of this first encounter and kick-started a long-standing interest in the Middle East.
Living for almost all of 1993 in various parts of Cairo was one of the foundational experiences of my adult life. After returning home (to Australia) I left my work of 8 years as a hospital-based nurse and started studying Arabic as part of an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies at the Australian National University. My interests at that time were mainly in Islamic culture, art, and architecture, but have since expanded to include more social history of life in the Arabic-speaking Middle East and South East Asia. Again, in 1997, I went to Cairo for about 9 months to further my studies of Arabic, this time as a formal component of my undergraduate degree.
Since completing my degree I have lived in the Netherlands and visited Egypt again. Of late I have completed my Ph.D. dissertation, “Negotiating Empires: ‘British’ dragomans and changing identity in the 19th century Levant,” in which I look at Ottoman-born mediators working for the British and the role their identity played in the formation of the idea of protectorates, dependencies, and nations, the definitions of which were very much in flux at that time. I am currently working to publish the thesis as a book.
I look forward to working with the Arabic-teaching faculty at Princeton.