We welcome three new additions to the Medieval, Renaissance and early modern faculty:

Manan Ahmed has joined Columbia’s History Department as Assistant Professor.  Professor Ahmed is interested in the relationship between text, space and narrative. His work on Islam´s arrival to Sindh in the 8th century traces the longue durée history of contestations among varied communities in South Asia. His areas of specialization include political and cultural history of Islam in South and Southeast Asia, frontier-spaces and the city in medieval South Asia, imperial and colonial historiography, and philology. He is currently working on a manuscript which takes a close look at the production and reception of Chachnama, a text written in Persian in 1226 C.E. in then capital city of Uch. He is the co-Director of Zukunftsphilogie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship – a multi-year research project based at Freie Universität Berlin. He plans to offer courses on memory and history, South Asia from medieval to the early modern period, the city and space in medieval India, and intellectual history of Muslims in early modern Asia.   In Fall 2012, he will be teaching a lecture course entitled “History of South Asia I: al-Hind to Hindustan” (History W3810, MW 10:10-11:25).

Rachel Eisendrath has just joined the Barnard English Department.  Professor Eisendrath specializes in sixteenth-century poetry. She comes to Barnard from the University of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. in English literature in 2012. Her work on Renaissance poetry explores problems of aesthetics, the history of poetic forms, and the intersection of literary and visual arts. Her dissertation, “Renaissance Ekphrasis and the Objects of History,” is a study of elaborate literary descriptions, or ekphrases, against the background of the early modern rise of objectivity. The project explores the fraught relation between aesthetic form and an increasingly empiricist understanding of the historical world. She has an article on Spenser’s treatment of art and objectivity forthcoming in Spenser Studies. Professor Eisendrath received a B.A. from Harvard and M.A. degrees from St. John’s College and the University of Chicago; in addition, she studied painting and sculpture at the New York Studio School.


Seth Kimmel has just joined Columbia’s Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. Professor Kimmel studies the literatures and cultures of medieval and early modern Iberia. He earned his B.A. in Comparative Literature and Religion here at Columbia and his Ph.D. from the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley in 2010. Before joining Columbia´s Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures in 2012, Professor Kimmel spent two years as a member of Stanford University´s Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in the Humanities, where he taught classes on theories of secularism and religion, the history of reading, and cultural exchange and conflict among Iberian Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Professor Kimmel’s current book project is an intellectual history of New Christian assimilation. The book argues that canon law, Oriental Studies, and history writing were all transformed by hotly contested debates over eradicating Islam and Judaism from the Iberian Peninsula and converting non-Christians elsewhere in the Spanish empire. Other research and teaching interests include the history of cartography and Mediterranean and Transatlantic Studies. Professor Kimmel’s work has appeared in the Journal of Medieval and Early Studies and the Hispanic Issues book series, and he is currently completing two new essays, one on early modern secular discourse and inquisitorial discipline and the other on the relationship between local print economies and peninsular representations of Ottoman Turks.