PhD, Columbia University, 2002
Fields of Interest
Pre-modern Middle Eastern history (mainly but not exclusively Ottoman history); popular and learned literary cultures; historiography; book history and urban history
Professor Sajdi's main interest is literary culture and the politics of textual production, especially of memorial/historical genres, such as chronicles, biographies, and city histories. She wrote a dissertation on a social and literary phenomenon of authorship of chronicles by commoners and marginals in the eighteenth-century Levant (roughly, the Arabic-speaking part of the eastern Mediterranean).
Her book on the “life and work” of one of these commoner-historians, titled The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the 18th-Century Ottoman Levant is forthcoming from Stanford University Press. She has edited a volume on Ottoman culture, Ottoman Tulips, Ottoman Coffee: Leisure and Lifestyle in the Eighteenth Century (London: IB Tauris, 2008); and co-edited with Marle Hammond another volume focusing on Arabic elegiac poetry, "Transforming Loss into Beauty": Essays in Arabic Literature and Culture in Memory of Magda Al-Nowaihi (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2008).
She is currently researching a project on Damascus and Constantinople/Istanbul. The project explores how these cities, having shared a Byzantine pre-Islamic past were inter-textually narrated and given meaning by their Muslim inhabitants.
- The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant. Stanford University Press. Forthcoming.
- “In Other Worlds? Mapping Out the Spatial Imaginaries of 18th-Century Chroniclers from the Ottoman Levant”, Journal of Ottoman Studies, in a special issue edited by Virginia Aksan on “Ottoman Identities”. Under Review.
- “New Voices in History: Nouveau Literacy in the 18th-Century Levant” in Syrinx von Hees, ed. Inhitat (Decline): Its Influence and Persistence in the Writing of Arab Cultural History, forthcoming.
- “The Dead and the City: The Limits of Hospitality in the Early Modern Levant” in Hosting the Stranger: Between Religions, edited by James Taylor and Richard Kearney (New York: Continuum, 2011), 123-131.
- “Muhammad b. Isa Ibn Kannan (d. 1741),” entry in Historians of the Ottoman Empire, http://www.ottomanhistorians.com/ [On the life and work of the 18th –century Damascene historian and geographer, Ibn Kannan]
- 2007: “Shihabaddin Ahmad Ibn Budayr al-Hallaq (fl. 1762),” entry in Historians of the Ottoman Empire, http://www.ottomanhistorians.com/]
- “Print and its Discontents: A Case for Pre-Print Journalism and Other Sundry Print Matters,” in The Translator 15:1 (2009)
- "Decline, its Discontents, and Ottoman Cultural History: by Way of Introduction," in Ottoman Tulips, Ottoman Coffee: Leisure and Lifestyles in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Dana Sajdi, (London: IB Tauris, 2008)
- "A Room of His Own: the 'History' of the Barber of Damascus (fl. 1762)," in The MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies 4, 19-35 (2004) — awarded the Syrian Studies Association Prize for Best Published Article in 2004
- "Trespassing the Male Domain: The qasidah of Layla al-Akhyaliyyah," in Journal of Arabic Literature 31.2, 121-146 (2000)
- Revised and reprinted in Suzanne Pinckney Stetkevych, ed., Early Islamic Poetry and Poetics. The Formation of the Classical Islamic World (London: Ashgate Variorum, 2009)