Dr Hilary Kalmbach
Lecturer in Middle Eastern History, University of Sussex
h . k a l m b a c h -- [ a t ] -- s u s s e x . a c . u k
Dr Hilary Kalmbach holds a tenure-track position in the History Department at the University of Sussex.
She is a cultural and social historian whose work focuses on Islam in the modern Middle East. Her research focuses on the impact of the processes of reform and modernisation that radically transformed the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Her work, much of which looks at authority, knowledge, and education, highlights how Islam, its traditions, and its institutions have been (and continue to be) reinvented to fit within - and even advance - reform projects. Aspects of her work address gender, colonialism, transnational ties, and the cross-cultural transfer of ideas and practices.
Her article, "Social and Religious Change in Damascus: One Case of Female Islamic Religious Authority," won the 2007 British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) Graduate Article Prize. She co-edited the 22-chapter volume Women, Leadership, and Mosques: Changes in Contemporary Islamic Authority (Brill, 2012).
Dr Kalmbach previously held a postdoctoral position, the Sir Christopher Cox Junior Fellowship, at New College, Oxford. Prior to that she was a doctoral student at St Antony's College, Oxford, submitting a dissertation on Cairo's Dar al-'Ulum teacher training school. Her graduate studies at Oxford, which began with an MSt in Modern Middle Eastern Studies, were funded by Clarendon and ORS Awards. Before arriving in Oxford, she completed an AB in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and studied female Islamic leadership while a Fulbright Fellow in Damascus, Syria. She honed her Arabic language skills (MSA, Syrian, Egyptian) at Princeton, Middlebury College's Summer Language School, and while completing fieldwork in Damascus and Cairo.
Dr Kalmbach is on the board of the British Society of Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) and the Syrian Studies Association (an affiliate of the Middle East Studies Association, MESA). She coordinates BRISMES's Faith, Politics, and Society Research Network and runs a mailing list for academics interested in female Islamic leadership.