When I'm not translating, I study the history of the modern Middle East. My main research interest is in the region's Jewish communities, and in September 2018 I will be starting work on a PhD in modern Egyptian Jewish history under the supervision of Dr Moshe Behar at the University of Manchester. My research is funded by an AHRC grant and a Presidential Doctoral Scholar award.
I'm a recent graduate of the Middle East Studies MA program at the American University in Cairo. My thesis concerned the mass imprisonment of Egyptian Jews which took place on the outbreak of the 1967 war. Through this issue I explore the production of historical knowledge on Egyptian Jewry in the twentieth century and the efforts of Egyptian Jews to establish their right to write their own history. In autumn 2017 I presented this research at the EUME conference Jews in Muslim Societies – History and Prospects (I wrote a short report on the conference here) and at MESA's annual meeting.
I'm also interested in colonialism and gender in the modern Middle East. In 2015-16 I undertook a major research project for Laila Soliman's documentary play Zig Zig, which took as its starting point a British military investigation into atrocities committed by soldiers during the suppression of the 1919 revolution in rural Egypt. Amongst the witnesses called to give evidence were a number of women who had been raped by British soldiers. The play has been performed all over Europe and is now touring in India and Pakistan. You can read more about the research project here and find dates for the play here. I am currently at work on an article about the same subject.
The intersection of translation and historical research is one of my ongoing interests. I often translate historical material for academic contexts (see non-fiction) and I'm always especially excited to translate texts related to Middle Eastern Jews. I have two texts forthcoming in the The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization: some anti-imperial satire by globettrotting Egyptian Jewish Nationalist 'Abu Naddara', and an early modern play by the Algerian Sephardi Abraham Daninos, both of which are in colloquial Arabic. I occasionally translate snippets from my own research, and I have written about the significance of translation in the field of Sephardi & Mizrahi studies.
I have also taught Arabic (MSA and Egyptian colloquial) at the University of Oxford and Culham European School.