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Middle East Studies Faculty

David Alvarez
David Alvarez teaches in the department of English. He earned his B.A. from Polytechnic of Central London and M.A., PhD from University of Texas. His research interests include Contemporary cross-Mediterranean migrations in literature, photography, and film; Contemporary South African literature in English; and Colonialism and Postcoloniality in Gibraltar.

Majd Al-Mallah
Majd Al-Mallah is Professor of Arabic Language and Literature at Grand Valley State University. He received his PhD in Arabic and Comparative Literature from Indiana University and he currently teaches Arabic and Middle East Studies courses. His research focuses on classical Arabic poetry in the 10th and 11th centuries C.E. and Modern Arabic fiction. He has published several articles on classical Arabic poetry and served as a reader for several scholarly journals, including the Journal of Arabic Literature and others. He co-edited a Dictionary of Literary Biography volume on Twentieth Century Arab Writers (with Coeli Fitzpatrick) and has recently published a book titled In the Shadows of the Master: Al-Mutanabbi’s Legacy and the Quest for the Center in Fatimid and Andalusian Poetry (2012).

Singrid Danielson
Singrid Danielson teaches in the Art and Design Department and specializes in medieval art history. She teaches a new course on Islamic art. Her research interests include the intersections between local politics, religious patronage and temporal authority in the art of the early medieval Mediterranean.

Danielle M. DeMuth
Assistant Professor of Women and Gender Studies, earned her PhD in English from the University of Toledo. She joins GVSU from Hamilton College where she taught Feminist Theory, Sexuality in Literature and Film, and Arab and Arab American Feminism-a course she has brought to GVSU. Her research and teaching interests have recently transformed in relation to post-9/11 culture to include a study of feminist movements in the Arab world through memoirs of Arab feminists.

Roy Cole
Roy Cole, Professor of Geography and Planning, earned his PhD in Geography from Michigan State University. He studied Arabic as part of his M.S. and Ph.D. programs and has studied Arabic language and culture at the American University in Cairo as well. His doctoral research was focused on environmental variability, development, and culture in the drylands of Mali. During his PhD program, he spent several years as a researcher in northern Sudan focusing on drought and socioeconomy in Red Sea Province. In his over four years in the Peace Corps as a rural development volunteer he lived and worked with people in villages in northern Senegal and several villages in central and northern Mali. In addition to Arabic, he has studied Bamanakan, Wolof, Fulfulde, and Syriac.

Coeli Fitzpatrick
Coeli Fitzpatrick, Professor of Philosophy in the Frederik Meijer Honors College, studied Arabic at the University of Jordan and earned her PhD at SUNY Binghamton. She teaches several courses in the program, including an Honors class focused on the Middle East. Professor Fitzpatrick's current research focuses on the transmission of Arab intellectual history in the West, Muslim Spain and Orientalism. She has co-edited volumes treating Arab Intellectual thought and Orientalism, and Muhammad in history, thought and culture.

Gamal Gasim
Gamal Gasim, Associate Professor of Middle East Studies and Political Science, earned his PhD in political science from Texas Tech. He teaches Introduction to Middle East Studies, Middle East politics, and comparative politics. He is also designing a new course on Arab and Muslim Americans. Before Grand Valley, he taught at Texas Tech, University of Wisconsin-Madison during the summers of 2006 and 2007, and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Beloit College during the summers of 2008 and 2009 respectively. His research interests include comparative politics, Middle East politics, Islamic civilization, Islamic political parties and Muslim Americans.

James Goode
James Goode received his doctorate in history from Indiana University. He teaches several courses on the history of the Middle East and the Islamic world. His publications have focused on Iran where he lived from 1968 to 1973. He is currently writing a book on archaeology and nationalism in the Middle East, 1919-1939.

Sheldon Kopperl
Sheldon Kopperl, who joined the GVSU faculty in 1970, is Professor of Biomedical Sciences and the History of Science. He also had extensive education in Hebrew and Jewish traditions at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland (Ohio). He is chair of adult education at Temple Emanuel of Grand Rapids. His research interest is in science and medicine in post-Biblical authoritative Jewish texts (e.g., the Talmuds).

Chad Lingwood
Chad Lingwood, Assistant Professor of History, earned his PhD from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto. He teaches several courses on the history of the Middle East and Islamic civilization. His research explores the intersection of politics and religion, especially mystical Islam, in classical Persian literature. His most recent publications include: The Qebla of Jami is None Other Than Tabriz: Abd al-Rahman Jami and Naqshbandi Sufism at the Aq Qoyunlu Royal Court, Journal of Persianate Studies 4, no. 2 (2011): 233-45; and Jamis Salaman va Absal: Political Statements and Mystical Advice Addressed to the Aq Qoyunlu Court of Sultan Yaqub (d. 896/1490), Iranian Studies 44, no. 2 (2011): 175-91.

Sebastian Maisel
Sebastian Maisel is Assistant Professor for Arabic and Middle East Studies. He received his PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies and Anthropology from Leipzig University, Germany. As an area specialist of the Middle East, he teaches courses on the Arabic language, culture and religion. His research focus is on social transformation among rural communities and minority groups, for which he conducted field work among the Bedouin tribes Saudi Arabia, Yezidis in Syria and Iraq as well as Dinka slave soldiers in Sudan. He primarily uses sources that include oral narratives, material culture and virtual representations. Professor Maisel also leads students on an annual faculty-led Study Abroad program to Oman.

Muaz Redzic
Muaz Redzic is Professor of Middle East Studies. He received his PhD in Islamic Studies from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana, and MA in Religion from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. His area of specialty is Islamic studies. He taught at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, IL. Muaz’s research interest includes Islamic civilization, Qur’anic studies, and comparative religions.

Mark Schaub
Before coming to GVSU, Schaub taught for almost 7 years at the American University in Cairo, where he directed the Writing Program. Schaub's research interests and publications include Arabic and Islamic Rhetoric, International Business, and Intercultural Communication related to the Arab World.

Mark Schwartz
Mark Schwartz received his PhD in Anthropology from Northwestern University and focused his doctoral research on trade between the early city-states of Mesopotamia and the emerging complex societies of Anatolia in the fourth millennium B.C. He has worked on excavations in Turkey, Israel and Arizona and has traveled to Syria and Egypt. Currently he is initiating an archaeological survey project in the Malatya and Batman regions of Turkey where he hopes to involve students in research. While at Grand Valley, he will teach courses on the archaeology of the Near East as well as general courses concerning archaeology. He is also working on a documentary film for the History Channel on military history of the ancient Near East.