Nada Moumtaz is Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University. She received her B.Arch. from the American University of Beirut and her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2012.
Her work is at the intersection of the Anthropology of Islam, Law, Property and the Economy, Ottoman history during the era of reform, and Islamic legal studies. As an architect, she has had a long-standing engagement with urban issues. She recently co-organized the yearly conference of the Graduate Programs in Urban Planning, Policy, and Design at the American University of Beirut, City Debates 2014, entitled, Of Property and Planning. She has contributed a chapter on the Anthropology of Islam to the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Anthropology of the Middle East. Her research on the expropriation and exchange of Islamic endowments during the rebuilding of downtown Beirut after the 1975-1990 Civil War will appear in Droit et propriété au Liban: Explorations Empiriques.
During the academic year 2014/2015, Nada will be a postdoctoral fellow at the program “Europe in the Middle East, the Middle East in Europe” of the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin, where she will prepare her book manuscript Modernizing Charity: Property, Law, and Religion in Modern Beirut for publication. Based on archival and ethnographic research conducted in Beirut, Ankara, and Istanbul, the book analyzes the modernization of Islamic charitable endowments [waqfs] and their law to trace how the grammar of the concepts of intent, family, and public good in the Islamic tradition were transformed. Modern subjects and conceptions of property, religion, and economy, it argues, radically changed the very practice of charitable giving, opening space for new practices such as NGO-waqfs, while still allowing for the ethical project that these endowments sustained.