Assistant Professor, History Program
Phone: 814-871-5750
Office: PC 3217

  • Biography
  • Courses Taught
  • Educational History
  • Scholarship/Research


I am new to Gannon this year, and couldn't be happier to be here!  I am very excited to get to share with the Gannon community my enthusiasm for the study of Middle Eastern history, Islamic civilization and jurisprudence, and Arabic language and literature, as well as my concern for women's issues (and human rights generally) throughout the globe (in the pre-modern and modern periods).  My family and I just moved here from Philadelphia--where we lived right downtown, and in winter we would always sled on the Art Museum steps where Rocky Balboa liked to go running!  

I have lived in Cairo, Egypt, where I studied at the American University in Cairo (AUC)-- Through AUC I got to row crew on the Nile, even winning a gold medal with our women's four in the African championships.  I don't do much rowing anymore, but that was one of the best experiences I ever had-- and seeing Cairo from the water (where it's actually pretty peaceful) gives you a whole new perspective on what is surely the busiest city in the world.   It's a rough time in Egypt right now, but I hope to lead some Gannon trips there, and help students see the Cairo I know and love-- of people who love to laugh, and whose hospitality and kindness are unmatched on the planet. 

I was trained as a classical pianist, and I'm still looking for a chance to sit down and play some chamber music with someone sometime-- I'm partial to the Romantic period, even though my colleague Dr. Grundy is convinced it's too self-indulgent!   I'm also a published novelist.  My first book, the View from Garden City, is a work of literary fiction based on my years in Cairo.  The upcoming book is in the popular fiction genre, and is due out next summer (under a pseudonym), so keep an eye out for a series about an Egyptian-American FBI agent named Nora Khalil! 

Courses Taught

  • LHST 111 History without Borders
  • HST 391 History through Arabic Literature
  • HST History of Modern Egypt (Spring 2014)

Educational History

  • University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., 2011 "Compulsion in minor marriages as discussed in early Islamic legal texts"
  • University of Pennsylvania, M.A., 2008 
  • Duke University, A.B. (summa cum laude), 1995


My research has focused on historical developments in early Islamic law, and specifically on the topic of child marriage-- research that I hope to contribute to the ongiong efforts to end this practice in the countries (Muslim and non-Muslim) where it is still practiced.  I have also written on divorce law, and am in the process of submitting an article on women warriors in early Islamic history.  I am particularly concerned with unearthing early women scholars of Islam and female activists in the pre-modern period, and, by extension, interested in how selective approaches to  history affect rights discourses in the present.