MEAMS Research

Research in Middle Eastern and Ancient Mediterranean Studies

The Department of Middle Eastern and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (MEAMS) is home to a dynamic and diverse community of scholar-teachers. The research and teaching of our faculty address key areas of global importance; indeed, much of what we do is unique within the SUNY system, as no other SUNY school offers an Arabic major. We are further set apart by the sheer range of our expertise: from the ancient Mediterranean to the modern Arab and Turkish speaking worlds, from language and literature to archaeology and material culture.

MEAMS faculty members bring their varied expertise to bear not only in developing their own personal research agendas but also in creating curricular synergy, thereby involving students and colleagues in broad and meaningful conversations about why the Mediterranean world (broadly construed) matters so much today.

Research in Middle Eastern Studies

  • Omid Ghaemmaghami's research interests includes themes and topics in Islamic intellectual history and the history and literature of the Bábí and Bahá’í religions. His most recent publication is a special issue of Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World (Brill Academic Publishers), dedicated to Ṭáhirih (d. 1852), “the first Iranian woman to preach equality of the sexes and religious freedom” (Annemarie Schimmel, Encyclopedia of Religion). Find the issue here: He is now in the final stages of co-authoring “Exploring the Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Laws and Teachings of the Bahá’í Faith” (contracted with I.B. Tauris), an extensive study of the most important text in the Bahá’í religion.
  • Gregory Key’s research concentrates on Turkish grammar, specifically the analysis of modern Turkish morphology and syntax as a coherent synchronic system.
  • Mary Youssef's research focuses on examining questions of identity, nationalism, belonging, gender, marginalization, and migration in the modern Arabic novel as well as in contemporary Arab-immigrant and Arab-American novels. Youssef's also has a new book, Minorities in the Contemporary Egyptian Novel (2018).

Research in the Classical and Medieval Worlds

  • Hilary Becker has written various articles and chapters dealing with Etruscan and Roman economy. She is writing a book on the economy of the Roman pigment industry, entitled, Commerce in Color, which was first inspired by her work on a Roman imperial pigment shop from the excavations of San Omobono in Rome. She has advised undergraduate students writing independent research projects dealing with a.) unbreakable Roman glass (spring ‘17), b.) Etruscan anatomical terracottas (spring ‘18), and c.) the materiality of Egyptian art (fall ’19). (Read about the last project here or here, and check out the virtual museum exhibit here. Two undergraduate students worked with Hilary Becker in spring 2019 as volunteers testing the economic aspects of Roman art. Their joint paper was accepted for the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (cancelled due to the pandemic).
  • Jeffrey A. Becker is a Mediterranean archaeologist with research interests that include urbanism and state formation in the Italic and Roman worlds, especially during the first millennium B.C. He is keenly interested in the dynamics of cultural interaction through the lens of hegemonic expansion and the attendant cultural processes, especially those expressed in the form of public architecture and infrastructure. Becker is an associate editor of the Pleiades gazetteer and contributing editor for Etruscan and Roman art at
  • Tina Chronopoulos is especially interested in studying 11th- and 12th-century Latin literature, as well as Greek and Latin hagiography (the lives of saints) and the reception of Classical authors in the medieval period. Recently, two undergraduate students who worked with TC and who wrote, respectively, about “The role of the paedagogus in Ancient Rome” and “Seneca’s Medea and the voice of women in Rome”, presented their work at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of New England. Chronopoulos’s work with graduate students tends to focus on Latin texts from the medieval period.
  • Zoja Pavlovskis-Petit is working on a monograph tentatively titled Poetry as Spiritual Refuge: Creative Memory in Late Latin Literature, a book on bilingualism as the main source of Nabokov's ironies, and several other projects.
  • Andrew Scholtz’s research and teaching encompass a broad range of interests, including Greek and Latin rhetoric, prose, and drama, and critical theory as a lens through which to view same. His first book, Concordia Discors (Center for Hellenic Studies, 2007), explores how classical Athenian literature addresses politics in the idiom of sexual desire. In his current project, he studies the materiality of envy and desire and how those two passions permeate the culture of competition in the Roman East. Past and present student research he has mentored addresses, among other things, the role of coinage in Romanizing ancient Gaul, and the light that French thinker Baudrillard sheds on Roman culture.