For Journalists




University of Virginia Experts
The Middle East After Arafat

November 12, 2004 --

The following University of Virginia faculty experts on the Middle East are available for media queries.

 Islamic Religion and Funeral Preparations

ABDULAZIZ SACHEDINA is a professor of religious studies and an expert on Shiite Islam, Islamic extremists, the concept of Holy War and Middle Eastern politics. Topics of his books include a study of Islamic messianism and what constitutes a just ruler in Shiite Islam. He also has written about the political role played by Islam in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. He is a past director of the Muhammadi Islamic Center in Toronto. Office Phone: (434) 924-6725; Home Phone: (434) 295-7655; E-mail:

United States' Foreign Policy and the Middle East

Former AMBASSADOR W. NATHANIEL HOWELL is an authority on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Director of the Institute for Global Policy Research at the University of Virginia, as a career diplomat he specialized in the Middle East. He served as ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait while it was under siege during the buildup to the Persian Gulf War, from 1987-1991. Home Phone: (434) 974-9315

RUHI K. RAMAZANI is professor emeritus of government and foreign affairs. Ramazani is a renowned expert on Middle East politics. His many books include "Beyond the Arab-Israeli Settlement: New Directions for U.S. Policy in the Middle East" and "Future Security in the Persian Gulf: America's Role." He has served as a consultant to many government agencies, including the White House, the Department of State, the United Nations Secretariat and the Rockefeller Foundation.Home Phone: (434) 295-6788

Middle East History and Political Economy

DAVID WALDNER is a politics professor in the department and director of the Middle East Studies Program. His forthcoming book, "Coalitions and the Countryside: Explaining Regime Change in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East," advances and defends propositions explaining regime dynamics -- the origins of democracy and dictatorship and the determinants of their relative durability -- in the 20th-century, post-colonial world.  Portions of the manuscript, including the major theoretical propositions and empirical material from the Middle East and Latin America, are circulating in a paper titled “Rural Incorporation and Regime Outcomes,” for publication in the journal Politics & Society.  He writes and speaks extensively on the Middle East including: “Urban-Rural Coalitions and Durable Dictatorships in the Middle East,” annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association; “Crossing Disciplines, Crossing Borders: A Macro-Historical Perspective on Political and Economic Transformation in the Middle East and East Asia,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology; “The New Global Economy and the Prospects for Democratization in the Middle East,” conference on Regime Legitimacy and Authoritarianism in the Middle East, Washington, D.C.; and “The Politics of Peace and Prosperity: Economic Interdependence and National Security in the Middle East,” conference on The Middle East and the New World Order, University of Virginia.Office Phone: (434) 924-6931; E-mail:

Jewish History

GABRIEL FINDER is an expert on modern Jewish history. A former fellow of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, he is the author of the forthcoming books and articles "Jewish Prisoner Labor in Warsaw after the Ghetto Uprising, 1943-1944,"  "Warsaw Concentration Camp," in “An Enclyclopedic History of Camps, Ghettos, and Other Places of Detention in Nazi Germany and German-Dominated Territories, 1933-1945” and "Psychoanalytic Criminology in Weimar Germany and the First Austrian Republic," in Peter Becker and Richard Wetzell, eds., "Criminals and their Scientists: Essays on the History of Criminology." He currently is currently researching and writing about the history of the honors court established by the returning remnant of Jews to Poland in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust.

Office Phone: (434) 243-7745; E-mail:

U.S. Foreign Policy in Islamic Nations

Former AMBASSADOR DAVID D. NEWSOM is a  retired professor of government and foreign affairs and  is an expert on U.S. foreign policy in the Third World. He served as U.S. ambassador to Libya, Indonesia and Philippines. He is the author of "Diplomacy and the American Democracy” and "The Public Dimension of Foreign Policy.” Home Phone: (434) 295-7569; Office Phone: (434) 924-7146

Middle East Intelligence and History

Timothy J. Naftali is the associate professor of history and senior research fellow at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. He also heads the Miller Center's Kremlin Decision-Making Project, which uses recently released Soviet, Central European and Middle Eastern documents to reconstruct Soviet policymaking after the death of Stalin. Naftali also wrote, with Russian historian A. Fursenko, "One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro & Kennedy 1958-1964," a highly praised book about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Naftali directs the Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Project, which transcribes and analyzes audio tapes made during the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon presidencies for publication in print and on CD-ROM. His current research and writing focuses on the Cold War and on espionage and intelligence. Office Phone: (434) 924-6053, E-mail:

Middle Eastern Societies: Cultural Implications of Israeli-Palestinian Relations

Dan Lefkowitzis an anthropologist interested in emotion, identity and social power. Geographically, he is drawn to the complex negotiations over hybrid symbols characteristic of linguistic and social “borderlands”. Most of his research has been done in Israel, where he lived for two years while interviewing Jewish and Palestinian Israelis, and studying how their patterns of language-use transformed Israeli categories of identity. A 1995 article "Constructing Affective Responses to ('Nationalistic') Violence in Israel" was published in Political and Legal Anthropology Review.A soon-to-be completed article, “Words and Stones: Language and the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict,” will appear in Studies in Anthropological Linguistics. Office Phone: (434) 982-3093 | (434) 924-1322; E-mail:

Modern Jewish Thought

Peter W. Ochs is Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies in the Religious Studies Department. He is an expert on modern Jewish philosophy and theology; history of Jewish thought and Jewish ethics; rabbinic hermeneutics (interpretation of the Bible); semiotics (sign language); and ethics. Ochs also studies American philosophy; pragmatism; semiotics; Charles Peirce, an American scientist, logician, and philosopher noted for his work on the logic of relations and pragmatism as a method of research; and modern and postmodern philosophic theology, the philosophy of religion. Office Phone: (434) 924-6718; E-mail:

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page

Top News site edited by Dan Heuchert (; maintained by Karen Asher (; releases posted by Sally Barbour (
Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-Nov-2005 10:41:14 EST
© 2003 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Top News Information: (434) 924-7676.


News Sources UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page News Sources UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar UVa Home Page UVa News Sources UVa Top News UVa WebCalendar Uva Home Page