NEH Institute




Confirmed Faculty
Dr. Muhsin al-Musawi, Columbia UniversityMuhsin al-Musawi

Muhsin al-Musawi is professor of classical and modern Arabic and comparative studies at Columbia University. Described by the Chronicle for Higher Education as the leading Arab critic, his contributions cover many fields and direct literary study along new paths. He is the author of twenty-eight books (including four novels) and over sixty scholarly articles. He has been editor of the Journal of Arabic Literature since 2000. His books include: Scheherazade in England (1981); The Society of One Thousand and One Nights (2000); Anglo-Orient: Easterners in Textual Camps (2000); The Postcolonial Arabic Novel: Debating Ambivalence (2003); Arabic Poetry: Trajectories of Modernity and Tradition (2006); Reading Iraq: Culture and Power in Conflict (2006); The Islamic Context of the Thousand and One Nights (2009); and ‘Choice’ Outstanding Academic Title for 2010: Islam on the Street (2009). He is the editor and contributor to Arabic Literary Thesholds: Sites of Rhetorical Turn in Contemporary Scholarship (2009). He was the recipient of the Owais Award in Literary Criticism (2002). His new book is Politics of the Medieval Islamic Republic of Letters (2015). His next book is Arab Struggle with the Past.


Dr. Sylviane Diouf, New York Public LibraryFaculty_Sylviane Diouf

Sylviane Diouf is an award-winning historian specializing in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, slavery, and the history of West African Muslims. She is the author of the acclaimed Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas. Her second book, Dreams of Africa in Alabama: the Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America, received awards from the American Historical Association, the Alabama Historical Association, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. She is a Curator at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library.

efb_maryam_ekhtiar_0073_01 Dr. Maryam Ekhtiar, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Maryam Ekhtiar is a scholar and specialist in the field of later Persian art and culture. One of her areas of expertise is calligraphy. She received a PhD from the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at New York University in 1994 and has worked and taught at various museums and universities in the United States, namely the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York University and Swarthmore College. She served as Senior Research Associate for the exhibition, Royal Persian Paintings: The Qajar Epoch 1785-1925, and was co-editor and contributor to the catalogue. In 2002 she was a Morgan Whitney Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is currently Research Associate in the Islamic Department.

Faculty_Jawid MojaddediDr. Jawid Mojaddedi, Rutgers University

Jawid Mojaddedi is Professor of Religion and Director of Graduate Studies at Rutgers University. His area of research is early and medieval Sufism. Since the publication of his verse translation, The Masnavi: Book One, which was awarded the 2004 Lois Roth Prize, he has been working towards completing the six books of Jalal al-Din Rumi’s magnum opus. He has already published in the same Oxford World’s Classics Series a translation of the second and third books, in 2007 and 2013, respectively. He recently completed his manuscript of Book Four as a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellow. In addition to his translations of Rumi’s poetry, he has also published the monograph Beyond Dogma: Rumi’s Teachings on Friendship with God and Early Sufi Theories (Oxford University Press, 2012). Previous books include The Biographical Tradition in Sufism: the Tabaqat Genre from al-Sulami to Jami (RoutledgeCurzon, 2001), and, as co-editor and co-translator with Norman Calder and Andrew Rippin, Classical Islam: A Sourcebook of Religious Literature (Routledge, 2003; expanded second edition, 2012).

Dr. Frances Pritchett, Columbia University

pritchettSince her retirement, Frances Pritchett has been writing about modern South Asian literature, especially Urdu poetry. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in South Asian Languages and Civilizations in 1981 and taught at Columbia from 1982 to 2013. Her books include Nets  of Awareness: Urdu Poetry and Its Critics (University of California Press, 1994) and The Romance Tradition in Urdu: Adventures from the Dastan of Amir Hamzah (Columbia University Press, 1991). She maintains a very large website that offers maps, texts, and images for the use of teachers and students of South Asia; the index page can be found by doing a Google search for her name. She considers the heart of her website to be two ongoing commentaries: “A Desertful of Roses,” on the Urdu ghazals of Ghalib, and “A Garden of Kashmir,” on those of Mir.

Zohra SaedZohra Saed, City University of New York

Zohra Saed is the co-editor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (University of Arkansas Press) and editor of Langston Hughes: Poems, Photos and Notebook from Turkestan (Lost & Found, The CUNY Poetics Documents Initiative). Her poetry chapbook Mispelled Cities/Falsch Geschrieben (with Sahar Muradi) was published for dOCUMENTA 13 Notebook Series in English/German. Her essays on the Central Asian diaspora and their food history has appeared in Eating Asian America (NYU Press) and Interviews/Essays in “Projects by Afghan American Writers and Artists” co-edited with Leila Christine Nadir in “Mixed Race in a Box” The Asian American Literary Review.

Dr. Kemal Silay, Indiana University

Faculty_Kemal SilayKemal Silay was born in Ankara, Turkey. He received his Ph.D. in Turkic Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington. In the fall of 1993, he was appointed as Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Languages at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1997, he returned to Indiana University to become the holder of the Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Endowed Chair. He is the author of numerous books and articles in Turkish and English on Turkish culture, literature, and politics including An Anthology of Turkish Literature.

Confirmed Guest Artists

Coming soon!


Visiting Summer Scholar Alums

Coming soon!

City Lore Staff
Staff_Amanda Dargan (1)Dr. Amanda Dargan, Education Director/Project Co-director

Amanda Dargan has a Ph.D. in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1992, she has served as Education Director for City Lore, where she manages the national outreach and New York City education programs and the professional development programs in art and history education for teachers and artists. She co-edits CARTS Magazine. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of American Folklore, The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Encyclopedia of New York City, Educational Leadership, and the recent book Through the Schoolhouse Door.

Sahar Muradi, Poetry Programs Director/Project Co-director

Staff_Sahar MuradiSahar Muradi coordinates the poetry programs at City Lore and assists with the education programs. She is co-editor, with Zohra Saed, of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature and co-founder of the Afghan American Artists & Writers Association. She is the recipient of an Asian American Writers’ Workshop Open City Fellowship, the Himan Brown Award in Poetry, and a Kundiman Poetry Fellowship. Sahar has an MFA in poetry from Brooklyn College, an MPA in international development from New York University, and a BA in creative writing from Hampshire College.

Steve Zeitlin

Dr. Steve Zeitlin, Founding Executive Director

Steve Zeitlin received his PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in literature from Bucknell University. Prior to arriving in New York, Steve Zeitlin served for eight years as a folklorist at the Smithsonian Institution and has taught at George Washington University, American University, and NYU. He is coauthor of a number of award-winning books on America’s folk culture.

Partnering Organizations

Poets House
Poets House is a literary center and poetry archive—a collection and meeting place that invites poets and the public to join the living tradition of poetry. Poets House will be hosting one of the institute events. 

Teachers & Writers Collaborative
A nonprofit organization founded by a group of writers and educators who believed that writers could make a contribution to the teaching of writing. Teacher & Writers staff will lead institute participants in poetry translation workshops. 


Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU
Created in 1966 to foster the interdisciplinary study of the modern and contemporary Middle East and to enhance public understanding of the region. The Kevorkian Center has generously donated space for the institute during the first week. 



Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.



2 Responses to “Faculty”

  1. Curtis Kickel
    30. September 2017 at 05:42

    I haven’t checked in here for a while since I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I’ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  2. Ashlyn Wischmeyer
    10. October 2017 at 03:45

    You are my inhalation, I have few web logs and very sporadically run out from post :). “Follow your inclinations with due regard to the policeman round the corner.” by W. Somerset Maugham.

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