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AIYS Expert Guide

Yemen is no longer the terra incognita it was before the Arab Spring, but there is still a great deal of ignorance in America about Yemeni history, culture and religion.


A major goal of AIYS is to promote accurate and timely information about Yemen and its people.  Many of the scholars associated with AIYS have extensive knowledge of Yemen.


This list serves as a guide to scholars who are willing to speak from their expertise.  AIYS maintains this list as a resource guide for all scholars of Yemen. If you would like to be included in this list, please email the webshaykh.


Journalists are welcome to contact the scholars below individually. Any institution or university interested in having one of our members speak should contact the scholar directly.

Expert Guide


Dr. Najwa Adra
Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences


• Dancing in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula
• Intangible heritage
• Tribal identity and customary law
• Women and Sustainable development
• Women's Literacy
• Women’s oral poetry

Dr. Abdulrahman Aldubaie


• Botany of Yemen
• Education in Yemen

Dr. Laurent Bonnefoy
Researcher, CERI/Sciences Po Paris

• International Relations
• Islamism and Salafism
• Political parties

Anna Bukhari, MSc, MA
Researcher/Affiliated to NISIS Leiden
and Eindhoven University of Technology

• Architecture
• Islam
• Material Culture
• Mosques and tombs (20th, 21th century)
• Photography
• Sacred space

Dr. Giovanni Canova
Università degli Studi di Napoli "L'Orientale"

• Banu Hilal in Yemeni oral tradition
• Honey and beekeeping in Yemen
• Folktales of Yemen

Dr. Sheila Carapico
Professor of Political Science and International Studies, emerita
University of Richmond

• Civic Activism
• Development in Yemen
• International Relations of Yemen
• Political system

Dr. Arianna D’Ottone
Researcher of Arabic Language and Literature

Sapienza Universita di Roma


• Codicology of Yemeni Manuscripts 

• Numismatics
• Palaeography of Yemeni Manuscripts

Dr. Andre Gingrich
Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Professor of Anthropology, University of Vienna

• Astronomy, folk (northern Yemen and Asir)

• Social organization, northern Khawlan
• Sa'da province
• Tribal history of northwest Yemen


Dr. Najam Haider

Professor of Religion

Barnard College, NY


• Early history of Yemen

• Islamic Law

• Zaydi Islam

• Islam in Yemen


Dr. Bernard Haykel
Professor of Near Eastern Studies
Director, Institute for Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia

• History of Yemen
• Islamic Law
• Islamism
• Politics
• Zaydi Islam

Dr. Ingrid Hehmeyer
Associate Professor, History of Science and Technology, Ryerson University, Toronto


•  Folk astronomy
•  History of water technology
•  History of agriculture and irrigation
•  Traditional Medicine

Dr. David Hollenberg
Assistant Professor of Arabic language and Religious Studies, University of Oregon;
Director, Yemen Manuscript Digitization Initiative (


• Scholasticism and Manuscript Culture in Northern Yemen
• Zaydi Islam

Dr. Ed Keall
Emeritus Curator, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada, Associate Professor, Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, Director, Canadian Archaeological Mission
of the Royal Ontario Mission in Yemen


• Excavating a medieval Islamic city in Yemen (mosques included),
Zabid, AD 800-1900.
• Traditional architecture and mosque styles of the city of Zabid,
Tihama coastal plain of Yemen.
• A Bronze Age Megalith culture on the Red Sea Coast of Yemen.
• Prehistoric Painted Rock Art in the foothills of the Yemeni highlands
• A visitor facility and archaeological study center in the
old military barracks compound in the city of Zabid.

Dr. Lamya Khalidi
French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
CEPAM, University of Nice, Sophia Antipolis


• Afro- and Inter-Arabian exchange spheres
• Archaeology, Pleistocene and Holocene
• Lithic Technology in Arabia
• Neolithic and Bronze Age Archaeology

• Prehistoric Yemen

Helen Lackner
Independent Research and Development Social anthropologist
Over 40 years' experience in Yemen


• Agriculture and fisheries projects (Design, implementation and evaluation)
• Rural Development
• Social structure changes and their causes
• Water management in 20th and 21st Centuries

• Current political context

Dr. Krista Lewis
Professor of Anthropology

Appalachian State University 

Archaeology of Yemen
Prehistoric Yemen
Pre-Islamic Yemen Culture
Archaeology, Iron Age and Himyarite
Ancient Agriculture and Environment
Dhamar Region
Trade, Red Sea and Indian Ocean


Dr. Samuel Liebhaber
Middlebury College


• Language Diversity and Ideology in Southern Arabia
• The Mahri Tribes of Yemen and Oman: Language, Poetry, History
• Vernacular (“Popular”) Poetry from the Arabian Peninsula

Tim Mackintosh-Smith

Author and independent scholar


• Ibn Baṭūṭṭa

• Qāt
• Ṣan‘ā', Old city
• San‘ānī dialect
• Travel in Yemen

Dr. Daniel Mahoney
Guest Researcher, Institute for Social Anthropology,
Austrian Academy of Sciences


• History of Yemen
• State-tribe relations (7th-19th centuries)
• Medieval and early modern historiography
• Archeology (Bronze Age to Islamic period)
• Dhamar region


Dr. Mohammed Maraqten
Lecturer at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg,
Seminar für Sprachen und Kulturen des Orients, Semitistik, Germany
Epigrapher of the American Foundation for the Study of Man (AFSM), USA


• Ancient South Arabian Inscriptions
•  Ancient Yemeni Minuscule inscriptions
• Pre-Islamic Yemen Cultural History
• Irrigation systems in ancient Yemen
• Awām Temple/Maḥram Bilqīs project (AFSM)

Dr. Anne Meneley
Trent University


• competitive sociability among Yemeni women
• embodied religion
• ethnographic fieldwork in Yemen
• food and intercultural relationships
• qat and exchange

Dr. Flagg Miller
Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Davis


• Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula
• History of Yemen
• Islam
• Literature and Poetry
• Tribalism

Dr. Nathalie Peutz
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Program in Arab Crossroads Studies, New York University Abu Dhabi


• conservation and development
• ethnographic fieldwork in Yemen
• heritage (tangible, intangible and 'world' heritage in Yemen)
• migration
• Socotra: history, contemporary society, politics, and language

Marjorie Ransom
Retired diplomat


• Traditional Silver jewelry of Yemen

Dr. Noha Sadek
Indepedent scholar


• Architecture
• Art and material culture
• History of Yemen (9th-17th centuries)
• History of Ta‘izz
• Women in Yemen’s history

Dr. Sabine Schmidtke
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton


• Zaydi Islam
• Islam in Yemen
• Manuscript Studies
• Libraries History

Dr. Charles Schmitz
Department of Geography, Towson University


• Economic Policy
• Political Economy
• Sociology of Yemeni Society
• Tribe and State Relations

Dr. Hanne Schönig
Academic coordinator, researcher,
Centre for Interdisciplinary Area Studies, Martin Luther University
Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale (Germany)

•  Ethnobotany
•  Magic
• Traditional medicine

Dr. Mohammed Sharafuddin
Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Sanaa University


•Tribal Poetry
• Yemeni History
• Yemeni Literature
• Sufism

Dr. G. Rex Smith
Emeritus Professor of Arabic
University of Manchester


• Arabic, Yemeni
• History, Islamic era
• Literature, Yemeni
• Rasulid Yemen

Emily Sumner

Graduate Student, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Minnesota

  • Modern Yemeni Literature

  • The Yemeni Zāmil 


Dr. Lucine Taminian
Independant Scholar


• Poetry
• Production of Knowledge
• Memory and Identity
• Urban cultures

Dr. Michel Tuchscherer


• Coffee
• Hammams and bathing traditions in Yemen
• History of Yemen (16th-19th C.)
• Trade in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean (16th-19th C.)

Dr. Nancy Um
Getty Research Institute

• Visual, built, and material culture in Yemen
• History of the port of Mocha (al-Mukha)
• Trade of the Red Sea and Indian Ocean (15th - 19th C)
• European merchants and travelers in Yemen (17th - 19th C)

Dr. Daniel Martin Varisco

Guest Researcher, Institute for Social Anthropology, Austrian Academy of Sciences

•  Coffee and Qāt (Catha edulis) in Yemen
•  Development in Yemen
•  History of Yemen

•  Rasulid Yemen
•  Islam in Yemen
•  Traditional Agriculture in Yemen
•  Water Issues in Yemen

Dr. Delores Walters
Independent scholar


• Health Care
• Social Disparities in Yemen
• Women's Empowerment

Dr. Janet Watson

Leadership Chair for Language at Leeds


• Mahri dialect
• Ṣan‘ā' dialect


Afro- and Inter-Arabian exchange (Khalidi)

Agriculture (Hehmeyer, Lackner, Lewis,Varisco)


Agriculture and fisheries projects (Design, implementation and evaluation) (Lackner)

Al-Qa’ida in Yemen (Miller)

Anthropology (Adra, Caton, Lewis, Meneley, Varisco)

Astronomy, folk (Gingrich, Hehmeyer, Varisco)

Arabic dialects in Yemen (Liebhaber)

Arabic (medieval Yemeni) (Smith)

Archaeology of Yemen
(Keall, Khalidi, Lewis, Mahoney, Maraqten, McCorriston)

Archaeology, Pleistocene and Holocene (Khalidi)

Architecture of Yemen
(Bukhari, Keall, Sadek, Um)

Art and Material Culture (Peutz, Sadek)

Banu Hilal in Yemeni oral tradition (Canova)


Botany of Yemen (Aldubaie, Schönig)


Civic Activism (Carapico)

Coffee (Tuchscherer, Varisco)

Dance (Adra)

Development in Yemen
(Adra, Carapico, Lackner, Peutz, Varisco)

Dhamar Region (Lewis, Mahoney)

Dialect (Ṣan‘ānī) (Mackintosh-Smith, Watson)

Education in Yemen (Aldubaie)

Economic Policy (Schmitz)

Ethnographic Fieldwork
(Adra, Meneley, Peutz, Varisco)

Folktales of Yemen (Canova)

Food (Meneley)

Hammams and Bathing Traditions (Tuchscherer)

Health Care (Walters)

History, Bronze Age (Keall)

History, 16th-19th c (Tuchscherer)

History, Islamic (Haider, Haykel, Mahoney, Miller, Sadek, Sharafuddin, Smith, Varisco)

Honey and beekeeping in Yemen (Canova)

Intangible Heritage (Adra, Peutz)

International Relations (Bonnefoy, Carapico)

Irrigation (Hehmeyer, Varisco)

Irrigation systems, ancient Yemen (Maraqten)

Islam in Yemen
(Bukhari, Hayder, Haykel, Meneley, Miller, Schmidtke, Varisco)

Islamism and Salafism (Bonnefoy, Haykel)

Library History (Schmidtke)

Literature (Miller, Sharafuddin, Smith)


Literature, Modern (Sumner)

Lithic Technology in Arabia (Khalidi)

Magic (Schönig)

Mahra and Mahri language (Liebhaber, Watson)

Material culture (Bukhari)

Medicine, traditional (Hehmeyer, Schönig)

Memory and identity (Taminian)

Migration (Peutz)

Mocha port (Um)

Mosques and tombs (Bukhari)

Neolithic and Bronze Age Archaeology (Khalidi)

Numismatics (D'Ottone)

Palaeography of Yemeni Manuscripts
 (D'Ottone, Schmidtke)

Photography (Bukhari)

Poetry (Adra, Liebhaber, Miller, Peutz, Sharafuddin, Sumner, Taminian)

Political Economy (Schmitz)

Political parties (Bonnefoy)

Political system (Carapico, Haykel)

Prehistoric Yemen (Keall, Khalidi, Lewis)

Pre-Islamic Yemen Culture (Maraqten)

Production of knowledge (Taminian)

Qāt (Catha edulis(Mackintosh-Smith,
Meneley, Varisco)

Rasulids (Mahoney, Smith, Varisco)

Rural Development (Adra, Lackner, Varisco)

Sa'da Province (Gingrich)

Ṣan‘ā', Old City (Mackintosh-Smith)

Scholasticism, Manuscript Culture (Hollenberg)

Silver jewelry (Ransom)

Social Disparities in Yemen (Walters)

Social Organization, north Khawlan (Gingrich)

Social structure change (Lackner)

Sociology of Yemen (Schmitz)

Socotra (Peutz)

South Arabian Inscriptions (Maraqten)

Sufism (Sharafuddin)

Taiz, history (Sadek)

Tihama (Keall, Meneley)

Trade, Red Sea and Indian Ocean
(Lewis, Peutz, Tuchscherer, Um, Varisco)

Travelers to Yemen (Mackintosh-Smith, Um)

Tribalism (Adra, Gingrich, Mahoney,
Miller, Schmitz)

Tribal History of northwest Yemen (Gingrich)

Urban cultures (Taminian)

Water Issues (Hehmeyer, Lackner, Varisco)

Women in Yemen's history (Sadek)

Women, competitive sociability (Meneley)

Women and Sustainable Development (Adra)

Women's Empowerment (Adra, Walters)

Women’s Literacy (Adra)

Yemeni Manuscripts (D'Ottone, Hollenberg,Schmidtke)

Zabīd (Keall, Hehmeyer, Meneley)


Zaydi Islam (Haider, Haykel, Hollenberg, Schmidtke)

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