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Dilyara A

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Georgetown University


Middle East, Russian history, Islam, colonialism, legal studies, law, world history, European history, digital humanities


My interest is in the history of law and empire. I wrote my dissertation on the transformation of law and legal practice in the colonial contexts of Crimea following the Russian annexation of the peninsula. Research for my dissertation project took me to the archives in Russia, Turkey, and Egypt. I personally love traveling, learning languages, and reading novels set in places I plan to visit. Following the defense of my dissertation, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Law School and I am currently at the University of Toronto for a second postdoc, working on my book project that is based on my dissertation.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Life Stories through Court Records

In this project, students will read court records from the past to understand the social context of the litigants. The project is based on using primary sources to construct a narrative about the characters and societies the student is studying.

Exploring History through digital projects

In this project, a student will select a certain period or region and explore existing digital tools to help organize and analyze primary sources to help reconstruct the period in question.

West seeing the Middle East through Art and Writing

In this project, a student will explore different types of artistic productions (including painting, photography, travel writings, music, etc) by Westerners who have visited the Middle East in the modern period (starting in the 19th century). This reading and exploration of primary sources are combined with the reading of secondary literature on Orientalism.

Languages I know

Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Ottoman Turkish

Teaching experience

I taught Arabic at Georgetown University for approximately 5 years. Moreover, as an undergraduate student, I worked and volunteered for AmeriCorps, tutoring children around LA in Reading, Writing, and Math. As an undergraduate, I also taught a course on the history and political impact of hip-hop art.


Work experience

Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto (2023 - Current)
Postdoctoral fellow
Postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Law School (2022 - 2023)
Postdoctoral fellow
Journal Editor for the Journal of Islamic Law (2022 - 2023)
Postdoctoral fellow and Journal Editor
Legal Aid (2016 - 2017)


University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
BA Bachelor of Arts (2008)
Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies
Columbia University
MA Master of Arts (2012)
Middle Eastern South Asian and African Studies
Georgetown University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Arabic and Islamic Studies

Completed Projects

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