The Department of Near Eastern Studies offers courses in the archaeology, history, languages and cultures of the Middle East, a region which has influenced the development of civilization and continues to play a vital role in today's world. Covering the ancient through modern periods, classes emphasize interdisciplinary analysis of the written and material records of the entire region. Some examples of Near Eastern studies include: Egyptian Civilization, Biblical Studies, Islamic Studies, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

The department excels in ancient and modern language instruction, especially Akkadian, Arabic, Biblical and modern Hebrew, Persian, Sumerian, and Turkish. Cornell’s world-class library has several collections dedicated to Near Eastern research—the Middle East and Islamic Studies Collection, the Jewish Studies Collection, among others—and students may partake of a wide range of Near Eastern lectures, colloquia, conferences, film screenings, concerts, dinners, and other events on campus.

Department website

Paraska Tolan-Szkilnik

Assistant Professor



Maghreb Noir: The Militant-Artists of North Africa and the Struggle for a Pan-African, Postcolonial Future (Stanford University Press, 2023).

Articles and Book Chapters

“’Collecting Bosoms:’ Sex, Race, and Masculinity at the Pan-African Festival of Algiers, 1969,” Arab Studies Journal, XXIX, no. 2, (Fall 2021), 96-117.

““Between their hands a fabulous geography is born”: The Maghreb generation and the fight to decolonize and unite Africa’s minds,” in Visions of African Unity, Frank Gerits and Matteo Grilli (eds.), (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), 237-259, invited to contribute by editors.

“The Quest for a Pan-African Groove: Saxophones and Stories from the Pan-African Festival of Algiers (1969),” World Art, 9 (1), July 2018, 1-14.

“Flickering Fault Lines: The 1969 Pan-African Festival of Algiers and the Struggle for a Unified Africa” in Monde(s), 2016/1 (N° 9)

Op-eds and Shorter Pieces

“Puigaudeau and Sénones: A Graphic Novel on Mauritania Circa 1933” in a special edition on Comix of The Markaz Review, August 2021, contribution solicited by editors,

“On Decolonial Studies,” or in French translation “Des Études Décoloniales,” Jadaliyya, April 19th, 2021,

Run naked towards the sun/Raise your barricades/Make your revolution: Poetic Revolution and Postcolonial Discourse,” Yoav di-Capua and Cyrus Schayegh (eds.), invited contribution to a roundtable in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Volume 52, Issue 1 (Spring 2020), 161-6.

Academic Podcasts:

“The Mad-for-Maghreb Generation: the Maghreb in the Pan-African Cultural Project,” Maghreb in the Past and Present Series, Episode 55, recorded November 2018.

“The History of Pan-Africanism in the Postcolonial Period: The Pan-African Festival of Algiers of 1969,” Maghreb in the Past and Present Series, Episode 53, recorded June 2018.

Oral History Online Publications:

Contributor to PANAFEST Archives, Paris, France,, 2018-2020.

Jonathan R. Lawrence

Post Doctoral Associate


It’s All Just Poetry: Writing ʿUmar ibn Abī Rabīʿah’s Life” in Journal of Arabic Literature 52:3–4 (2021), 321–50

Colonial South America, Identity and Race as Seen by a Chaldean Priest from Baghdad” in CompLit: Journal of European Literature, Arts and Society 2 (2021), 115–43

Building a Library: The Arabic and Persian Manuscript Collection of Sir William Jones” in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 31:1 (2021), 1–70

Alla Goldfeld

Lecturer, Hebrew language

Dina Bishara

Assistant Professor, ILR School

Samia Henni

Assistant Professor, Architecture at Cornell AAP

Baojun (Bar) Sheng

Graduate Student


  • "The Development of Arabic Parties in Israel and its Influence." Israel Studies, no.1. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press(China), 2020.
  • "A Study of Hebrew Language Teaching in Compulsory Education in Israeli Arab Schools."Israel Studies, no.2. Beijing: Social Sciences Academic Press(China), 2021.

Milad Sotoudeh

Graduate Student


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Phantasmagoric Manifestations of the Modern City During the Pahlavi Era and Its Representation in Brick and Mirror”, S. Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad & Milad Sotoudeh, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, May 2022, page 1-21
  • “Panopticon Surveillance on Iranian Women during the Pahlavi Era, with Concentration on the Visibility and Invisibility Paradigms: the case of Dead End" by Parviz Sayyad (1977), Milad Sotoudeh & S. Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad, Feminist Media Studies, August 2021, page 1-15
  • “The Capacities of Haptic Perception in Persian- Islamic Art and its Function in Cinematic Expression: The Case of The Green Fire”, A. Sayyad & Milad Sotoudeh & S. Sotoudeh, BAGH-E NAZAR Journal, Volume 17, Issue 88, October 2020, Page 19 - 26.
  • “The Role of Decoupage in Orientation and Moral Judgment of the Audience: Studying Two Iranian Movies, The Glass Agency and A Separation”, S. Esfandiary & S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh, Journal of Dramatic Arts and Music: Academic Journal of University of Art, Volume 11, Issue 21, Summer 2020, page 47- 65.
  • “Child’s perception in Walter Benjamin’s reflections and its representation in The Runner (1984)”, S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad, Thinking and Child Quarterly, Volume 10, Issue 1, No 19, Summer and Autumn 2019, pages 125-148.
  • “Female Flânerie and Transition from a Fetishized Object to an Observer-Subject: A Case Study on Cleo from 5 to 7”, A. Sayyad & S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh, Journal of Women in Culture and Art, Volume 11, Issue 1, Spring 2019, pages 1-23.
  • “Aestheticism of Framing and Deframing in Iranian cinema from 2001 to 2011”, S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh & A. Alasti & M.J. Yousefian, Honar-Ha-Ye Ziba: Honar-Ha-Ye-Namayeshi Va Mosighi: Academic Journal of University of Tehran, Volume 21, Issue 2, autumn 2016, Pages 5-14.
  • “The Analysis of Camera Movement Aesthetics in Iranian Cinema From 2001 to 2011”, S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh & A. Alasti & M.J. Yousefian, Journal of Dramatic Arts and Music: Academic Journal of University of Art, Volume 5, Issue 10, Autumn 2015, pages 49-66.
  • “Dramatic Functions of Depth of field in Iranian cinema from 2001-2011”, S. Sotoudeh & Milad Sotoudeh & A. Alasti & M.J. Yousefian, Journal of Dramatic Arts and Music: Academic Journal of University of Art, Volume 4, Issue 8, Summer & Autumn 2014, Pages 51-66.

Chapters in Peer-Reviewed Books

  • “Eastern Caressing Eyes: Persian-Islamic Arts, Haptic Moments, and Kiarostami’s Cinema”, Milad Sotoudeh & S. Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad, in Trends in Iranian Cinema: Local and Global Perspectives, Edited by B.M. Bakhtiari and M. Rahmati, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022, (Accepted- Forthcoming).
  • “The City in Fragments: Distraction, Flânerie, and Urban Modernity in Tehran, Studying Tehran, Conceptual Art by Mohammad Reza Aslani”, S. Sotoudeh & A. Sayyad & Milad Sotoudeh, in Handbook of Iranian Cinema, Edited by M. Langford & M. Ghorbankarimi & Z. Khosroshahi, I.B Tauris & Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022, (Accepted- Forthcoming).

Zachariah Crutchfield

Graduate Student

Mohammed Elfeky

Graduate Student

Sibel Karakoc

Visiting Lecturer

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