Dana Sajdi teaches various courses on Islamic history but specializes in the history, societies, and cultures of the pre-modern Eastern Mediterranean (the Levant, Egypt, and Turkey). Her earlier work has focused primarily on the production of texts by unusual authors, such an 18th-century barber, Ibn Budayr (The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant [Stanford UP, 2013]) and an 8th-century female poet, Layla al-Akhyaliyyah “Trespassing the Male Domain,” Journal of Arabic Literature, 200]). Her questions had to with social and intellectual meanings of the appearance of new voices in the literary landscape.
Her current project, In Defense of Damascus: Arabic Textual Cityscapes is also about textual production, but this time the subject is descriptions of the venerable city, Damascus. She has identified an uninterrupted tradition of these prose topographies between the 12th and 20th centuries and is treating them like pictorial cityscapes through which to write the Islamic history of Damascus over centuries.
The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the 18th-Century Ottoman Levant. Stanford University Press, 2013. Turkish and Arabic translations in 2018.
Ottoman Tulips, Ottoman Coffee: Leisure and Lifestyles in the Eighteenth Century. London: IB Tauris. Paperback, 2014. Turkish translation, 2014.
“Reclaiming Damascus: Rescripting Islamic Time and Space in the 16th century,” History and Theory, 58.4 (2019): 68-85.
“Chained: Orality, Authority and History”, in Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom, eds. By the Pen and What They Write: Writing in Islamic Art and Culture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017), 205-225.
“Ibn `Asakir’s Children: Monumental Representations of Damascus until the 18th Century”, edited by S. Judd and J. Schneider eds, Ibn `Asakir’s Influence on Arabic Historiography (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 30-63.
“Print and its Discontents: A Case for Pre-Print Journalism and Other Sundry Print Matters,” The Translator, 15:1, 2009, 105-138.