This program supports an extended stay during the Spring semester for a visitor whose work engages the Middle East North Africa region via any discipline or historical period.  The Distinguished Visitor must have a record of excellence and recognition in any field, including and not limited to research areas within the academy, creative fields (such as art and literature), social entrepreneurship, and diplomacy.


Distinguished Visitors are expected to:

  • Deliver a public lecture
  • Offer a masterclass for graduate students
  • Attend relevant graduate seminars and working groups
  • Hold office hours at the CMES


Distinguished Visitors will hold a one- to two-week residency at UC Berkeley.

Financial Support:

The CMES will cover the cost of travel, lodging, event-related meals, and will offer an honorarium.


The Center for Middle Eastern Studies invites nominations for the CMES Distinguished Visitor from UC Berkeley faculty only. Proposals must include a brief summary of the candidate’s contributions, value to Berkeley’s faculty and students, potential for interdisciplinary engagements on campus, and the ability to address broad and pressing issues that have public visibility. Please also include a copy of nominee’s curriculum vitae and specific courses, working groups, workshops, symposia etc. in which he/she could fruitfully participate. The deadline for nominations for the Spring 2018 Distinguished Visitor is June 1, 2017. Nominations may be submitted directly to CMES Chair Emily Gottreich.


Spring 2017 Distinguished Visitor: James Gelvin, UCLA

Public Lecture: “Obama’s Legacy in the Middle East”


Spring 2016 Distinguished Visitor: Gil Anidjar, Columbia University

Public Lecture: “Sparta and Gaza”

Athens and Jerusalem: There is perhaps no more concise way of understanding the political tradition of which we see ourselves the inheritors: democracy and individualism, human rights. It is an active and proactive tradition, a tradition of power and rule, of political activity which makes and remakes the political subject, the political community. In this lecture, Prof. Anidjar will raise the question of weapons (akin to, but not identical with, the question of war) in order to consider another face of that tradition, another trajectory: Sparta and Gaza.

Masterclass: “Oversight (On the Subject of Surveillance)”

Working Group:  Secularism Townsend Graduate Working Group: Reading and Method