Visiting Professor in Contemporary International Issues

Visiting Professorship in Contemporary International Issues

The University of Pittsburgh’s Global Studies Center (GSC) is home to the Visiting Professorship in Contemporary International Issues, which is funded by a generous endowed gift from Mr. William F. Benter and the Benter Foundation. This two-year visiting professorship enables the GSC to host scholars whose research and teaching examine critical international issues that shape and define the contemporary world, particularly those issues which intersect with the center's focal themes of: ecology and sustainability, politics and economy, cultural dynamics, peace, conflict and security and heath and well-being. 


Previous Visiting Professors in Contemporary International Issues

AY2014-15 Visiting Professor

Dr. Luke Peterson received his PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from King’s College, University of Cambridge. He has taught at St. Edward’s University, Aga Khan University in London, and the University of Cambridge where, until recently, he was supervisor of Arabic Language instruction. Dr. Peterson has conducted research in the Middle East including Israel and Palestine.

Broadly, Dr. Peterson’s work has focused on contemporary representations of Palestine-Israel in print media in Great Britain and the United States. His dissertation reflected this interest, which focused on Contending Discourses: Palestine-Israel in the Print News Media. His research compares social cognition within two geographic regions and connects divergent public and social interpretations of conflict in the Middle East to disparate representations in print language distributed within those regions. He examines these issues from a historical perspective.

Dr. Peterson’s publications include (with Seamus Power) "Theorizing Propaganda: Extending Kohl", Psychology & Society, Vol. 4 (1), 27–30 (2011); “Evacuating Gaza from Two Sides of the Atlantic: Comparing Frames of Representation in the Print News Media” in Bruno DeNicola, Yonatan Mendel, and Hussain Qutbuddin (eds), Reflections on Knowledge and Language in Middle Eastern Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2011); Palestine in the American Mind, Lambert Academic Publishing: Saarbrücken, Germany (2010); and Palestine in the American Mind, Palestine in Discourse: George W. Bush at the Rose Garden,” in David Perusek (ed) Between Jihad and McWorld: Voices of Social Justice, Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2010). His book Israel-Palestine in the Print News Media: Contending Discourse, London: Routledge, is to be published this Fall.

On the curricular side, Dr. Peterson’s research interests are reflected in the courses he is teaching at Pitt including “The US in the Middle East,” both as an undergraduate history course and as a graduate course in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. His Spring 2015 course offerings are expected to include a history course on “The History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict” and a graduate seminar focusing on Modern Iran.

AY2012-13 Visiting Professor

Dr. Sami Hermez Dr. Sami Hermez received his PhD in Anthropology from Princeton University and held a post-doctoral fellowship at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Dr. Hermez was also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient and the Collaborative Research Center, Humboldt University, both in Berlin. He has also taught at Mount Holyoke, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and at the American University of Beirut.  Dr. Hermez has worked for the United Nations Capital Development Fund and its Development Program, Human Rights Watch and the Peace Corps.

Broadly, Dr. Hermez’s work has focused on the relationship between violence during war and civil war and its subsequent impact on politics and everyday life. His dissertation reflected this interest, which focused on Living Everyday in Anticipation of Violence in Lebanon. He examined these issues from an anthropological perspective using ethnographic fieldwork to gather his data and evidence.  Indeed, Dr. Hermez has conducted fieldwork or lived in countries in several world regions including the Middle East. These include Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, the Philippines, Russia, the U.S. and Yemen. Other areas his research has touched include anthropology of the state; war and ethics; narrative, history and memory; legal anthropology; nationalism; globalization and migration; Arab identity; conflict resolution; and sectarianism, among others. Dr. Hermez’s current and future research includes a project that focuses on transnational labor law and the global trade of domestic workers to the Middle East.

Dr. Hermez’s recent publications and paper presentations include “Activism as ‘Part-time’: Searching for Commitment and Solidarity in Lebanon” in Cultural Dynamics, and “From Feuds to Statehood: Dignity as a Political Emotion in Lebanon” at the American Anthropological Association 2011 Annual Meeting. In 2011 alone, he was interviewed by BBC Radio and Al-Jazeera International.

On the curricular side, Dr. Hermez’s research interests are reflected in the courses he taught at Pitt including the undergraduate courses “Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: Living the Law: Seminar in Political and Legal Anthropology” and “Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: Political Culture in the Arab World”; and the graduate courses “Arab Revolutions and Social Movements” and the “Politics of Violence in the Middle East”; and an Arabic language trailer.

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