Adam Benkato is an Associate Professor in Middle Eastern Langugages and Cultures and holds the Bita Daryabari Presidential Chair in Iranian Studies. Before coming to UC Berkeley, he worked in Germany at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Benkato's research investigates a wide variety of textual and audio sources through the lenses of material philology, sociolinguistics, and archive studies. Although his training was largely in philology and dialectology, he has developed interests in a number of other fields and methodologies, including sociolinguistics, codicology, postcolonialism, and aural/sonic studies.
Benkato works with a variety of languages and textual traditions, particularly various Iranian languages and Arabic dialects. On the Iranian side, most of his research thus far has dealt with Sogdian, Middle Persian, New Persian, and Chorasmian. He has also carried out fieldwork on Yaghnobi, an endangered Iranian language of Tajikistan. On the Arabic side, he works primarily with northern African dialects, especially Libyan ones, as well as on the historical and modern dialectology, and sociolinguistics, of Arabic generally. Benkato's other main research focus involves the historical religion Manichaeism.
Adam Benkato regularly teaches the Iranian languages of antiquity and late antiquity; most recently Old Persian, Middle Persian (Manichaean, Zoroastrian, Inscriptional), and Sogdian. These seminars are typically for graduate students, but advanced undergraduates with experience in ancient languages have enrolled in the past.