Middle East Studies Faculty

Majd Al-Mallah

Jeremiah Cataldo
Jeremiah Cataldo received his Ph.D. from Drew University with a primary focus on ancient Israel and Judah and a secondary focus on the ancient Near East. He has published a book and multiple articles on the nature of the social-political structure in the Persian imperial province of Judah. His current research continues to focus on this province and has recently expanded into the relationship between religion and society in the ancient world, most notably how social, economic, and political factors gave way to the development of monotheism. At Grand Valley State University, he currently teaches courses on Biblical Hebrew and ancient Near Eastern kingdoms and empires, among others.

Mariya Chakir
Visiting professor in Arabic.

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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. 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 studied Arabic at the University of Jordan, then earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from SUNY Binghamton and serves as the Program Coordinator of the Middle East Studies Program. Her research focused on medieval Arabic medicine and philosophy. She will teach medieval philosophy here at GVSU, where the focus will be on Islamic philosophy.

Gamal Gasim
Gamal Gasim, Associate Professor of Middle East Studies and Political Science, earned his Ph.D. 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 archeology 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 Ph.D. 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.

Muaz Redzic

Barbara Roos
Associate Professor in the School of Communications where she serves as assistant director. She did extensive undergraduate and graduate course work in Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East, including Egypt and Syria (1994), Yemen (1996) and a CIEE study visit to Turkey in 1998 and has produced short video reports for classroom use on Egypt, Syria and Yemen. In summer 1999 she taught "American Social Issues and Cinema" at Middle East Technical University, Ankara. She served as director of the Michigan Committee on US-Arab Relations, 1997-1999, and as editor of its principal publication, Newslines. She has also written articles on censorship in Yemen and Lebanon for the Encyclopedia of Censorship.

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 Ph.D. 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 archeological 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 archeology of the Near East as well as general courses concerning archeology. He is also working on a documentary film for the History Channel on military history of the ancient Near East.