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This page features our alumni's academic and professional accomplishments. If you'd like to share your news with the Abbasi Program community, please contact Associate Director Dr. Zack Al-Witri. Please also consider signing up for our alumni mailing list to keep tabs on our activities. 

Alaina Morgan

2017-2019 Postdoctoral Fellow in Islam in America
Being at Stanford gave me the time and the opportunity to build new classes on Islam in America, make connections with like-minded scholars doing incredible work, and make substantial progress on my manuscript.  One of the highlights of my time at Stanford was curating the “Islam in America” series, organized by the Abbasi program with generous support from the Religious Studies department.  As part of that series, I got to interview Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about Islam and basketball on stage in front of 1,000 people.  To say it was amazing is an understatement!  After finishing my postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford, I joined the Department of History at the University of Southern California as an Assistant Professor of U.S. History. 
Read a Q&A profile with Dr. Morgan here.

Halil Ibrahim Yenigun

2017-2019 Postdoctoral Fellow in Islamic Studies
I have been fortunate to spend the last two years as Abbasi Program’s post-doctoral fellow during my transition back to the U.S. academia. Apart from Stanford’s immense resources, enriching events and amazing colleagues to provide the exceptional setting for my research and professional development, the program has provided me with the precious support I needed after my departure from Turkey. I am grateful for the chance to teach my favorite course directly on my research, Contemporary Muslim Political Thought and the invaluable time I could spend to immerse myself further in my research.
Read a Q&A profile with Dr. Yenigun here.
Hajnalka Kovacs

Hajnalka Kovacs

2013-14 Postdoctoral Fellow in Literary Cultures of Muslim South Asia

During my year at Stanford as a postdoctoral fellow, I had the opportunity to both continue my work on the complex relationship between literary aesthetics  and religious beliefs in premodern Indo-Persian and Urdu poetry and to teach related courses. At present, as a postdoctoral scholar in the Zukunftsphilologie program of the Forum Transregionale Studien and Freie Universität (Berlin), I continue my research on the literary culture of late Mughal India, focusing on the polemical literature on the competence of Indian poets in the Persian literary language.

Avital Livny

Avital Livny

PhD in Political Science

Islamic Studies was critical in helping me stay connected to the peoples and places that are the focus of my research as a political scientist, while broadening my personal and professional network within the Stanford community. Now, as I begin the next phase of my career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, I hope to be able to recreate this rich interdisciplinary experience, for myself as well as for my students.

Erin Pettigrew

Erin Pettigrew

PhD in History

As Assistant Professor of History and Arab Crossroads Studies at NYU Abu Dhabi, I endeavor to formulate courses and research that bridge various geographic and historical spaces. My teaching of African History and research in West Africa and the Sahara often relies on the history of Islam and its practitioners as part of the foundation of this bridge. Situated intellectually- and now physically - between the histories of Africa and the Middle East, I am grateful for the support that was provided by the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies for the vibrant research and scholarly community during my time at Stanford. 


Luke Rodeheffer

Luke Rodeheffer

M.A. in Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies

Some highlights of my time at Stanford have been Professor Robert Crews’ class on the Islamic Republics and Professor Ali Yaycioglu’s class on early Islamic civilization. My capstone project was a comparative examination of the offshoring and corruption that was involved in the Sochi Olympics in Russia and the nexus of bribery, money laundering, and gold smuggling that led to the December 17th Scandal in Turkey. Professor Burcu Karahan, my Turkish language lecturer, was an excellent source of help for sorting through the complex language of Turkish police files and parliamentary reports. Upon graduation, I look forward to taking a Persian language class at the University of California at Berkeley and plan then to work in the field of consulting and research issues related to post-Soviet Eurasia and the Near East.