About

_MG_6724_ESElyse Semerdjian is Associate Professor of Islamic World/Middle Eastern History at Whitman College.  A specialist in the history of the Ottoman Empire and Syria, she authored  “Off the Straight Path”:  Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo (Syracuse University Press, 2008) as well as several articles on gender, non-Muslims, and law in the Ottoman Empire.  She received her M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and her Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University.  Her dissertation earned both distinction  from Georgetown University and the Syrian Studies Association Best Dissertation Prize in 2003.  Semerdjian is a two-time Fulbright awardee to Syria.   Semerdjian  continues to research and write the social history of the Armenians of Saliba Judayda, the Christian quarter of Aleppo, focusing on the formative sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.  Her recent article entitled “Naked Anxiety:  Bathhouses, Nudity, and Muslim/non-Muslim Relations in Eighteenth-Century Aleppo” was published in the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and won the Syrian Studies Association Best Article Prize in 2014. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies and as a book review editor for the International Journal of Middle East Studies.  In the Spring of 2013, she was the Dumanian Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies in The Department of Near Eastern Cultures and Languages at the University of Chicago.  She was awarded a Cornell University Society for the Humanities Fellowship for the 2016-2017 academic year to support her new book project, Remnants:  Gender, Islamized Armenians, and Collective Memory of the Armenian Genocide.

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