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Dr. Malissa Taylor


Gottschalk Hall 103E





The University of California Berkeley

PhD in Middle East History, May 2011

Dissertation: “Fragrant Gardens and Converging Waters: Ottoman governance in seventeenth-century Damascus”

Committee: Beshara Doumani (chair), Carla Hesse, Leslie Peirce,

Saba Mahmood



New York University

M.A. Near Eastern Studies, May 2003

            Thesis: A Sense of the Past: Narrative Histories from Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Damascus


Princeton University

A.B. Near Eastern Studies, June 1997, Highest Honors, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society

            Senior Thesis: The Arab Nationalist Debate: an Evaluation of Arab Nationalist Scholarship.  Winner of the Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Senior Thesis Prize.






“Keeping Usufruct in the Family.  Popular and Juridical interpretations of Ottoman land tenure law in Damascus,” Bulletin d'Études Orientales, Vol. 61 (2012), pp. 429-446.


“Some Figures for the Urban and Rural Populations of Damascus Province in the Late Seventeenth Century,” Osmanlı Araştırmaları/The Journal of Ottoman Studies, Vol. 35 (2010), pp. 211-232. 


“The Anxiety of Sanctity: Censorship and Sacred Texts,” in Seyfi Kenan ed., Osmanlı ve Avrupa: Seyahat, Karşılaşma ve Etkileşim (18. Yüzyıl Sonuna Kadar)/ Ottomans and Europe: Travel, Encounter and Interaction (Until the End of the 18th Century), İstanbul: İSAM Yayınları, 2010, pp. 301-322.




Papers Delivered


November 2010. “Damascene Agricultural Production in the Late 17th and 18th Centuries.”  Given at the Middle East Studies Association of North America annual meeting, San Diego


November 2008, “Imperial Tradition, Islamic Idiom, and Peasant Interlocutors.” Given at the Middle East Studies Association of North America annual meeting in Washington DC


June 2008, “Desperately Seeking Tax Farmers.” Given at the International Association for Ottoman Social and Economic History 11th Congress, Ankara, Turkey


November 2006, “The Anxiety of Sanctity.” Given at the international symposium Islamic Turkish Civilization and Europe, Istanbul, Turkey


November 2002. “A sense of the past: historical narrative in nineteenth century Damascus.” Given at the Middle East Studies Association of North America annual meeting in Washington DC




Fellowships, Grants, Scholarships and Awards



Council of American Overseas Research Centers Multi-Country Research Fellowship: January 2008-June 2008

Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award: December 2006-December 2007


Pre-Dissertation Research and Language Training in Turkey, Syria and Egypt

American Research Institute in Turkey Fellowship for advanced Turkish: June-August 2003

Fulbright IIE Grant in Syria: September 2001-May 2002

Center for Arabic Study Abroad Fellowship: June 2000-June 2001



Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies: September 1999-May 2000




Research and Archival Work


The Qasimi Library (a privately owned manuscript library), September 2001-May 2002: I identified and read unpublished Damascene chronicles.

The Süleymaniye Library, the Islamic Studies Center Library, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 2006-December 2007: I examined manuscripts of legal texts, chronicles, and advice literature.  I also looked at complaint registers, financial documents, sultanic orders, and cadastral surveys in the Ottoman Archives at the Başbakanlık Arşivleri in Istanbul.  The latter is the central archive of the Ottoman state.

The Zahiriyah Manuscript Collection at the Assad National Library in Damascus, Syria, January 2008-May 2008: I consulted legal texts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  I also read seventeenth-century court records at the Center for Historical Documents in Damascus, Syria.  This archive is the principal depository of Ottoman records in Syria.

The Turkish Historical Institute in Ankara, Turkey and in the Millet Library in Istanbul June-August 2008: I consulted legal manuscripts in the holdings of these libraries to complete my dissertation research.




Teaching and Professional Experience


University of Louisville, Department of History.  Assistant  Professor.  July 2012-present.


UC Berkeley, Department of History.  Lecturer, History 109A, The Rise of Islamic Civilization, 600-1200 C.E.  and History 103, Sexuality and Political Bodies in the Middle East, 16th-20th centuries.  Fall 2011, Spring 2012.


UC Berkeley, Department of International and Area Studies. Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), IAS 45, Survey of World History.  Will teach discussion sections and grade.  Spring 2011.


UC Berkeley, Department of Political Economy.  Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), PEIS 100, Classical Theories of Political Economy.  Taught discussion sessions, graded.  Fall 2010.


UC Berkeley Office of Resources for International and Area Studies summer workshop for teachers.  Lectured on “Islamic Empires before Imperialism” and discussed classroom materials for the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal dynasties with teachers of grades 4-12.


UC Berkeley, History Department.  Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), History 12, Middle East Survey from rise of Islam to Gulf Wars.  Taught discussion sections, graded, gave lecture on the foundation and institutions of the Ottoman Empire.  Summer 2005. Fall 2005.


UC Berkeley, History Department.  Graduate Student Reader (grader), History 109C, the Middle East in the 19th and 20th Centuries.  Graded and met with students to discuss questions and individual progress.  Spring 2004.


Research Assistant to Professor Leslie Peirce, then faculty at UC Berkeley.  Read books and articles in English and French, compiling relevant information for her forthcoming book on material culture in the Ottoman Empire. Spring 2004.






Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, Turkish, French, German, Persian




Professional Organizations


Member of the American Historical Association

Member of the Middle East Studies Association of North America

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