Faculty & Staff

Sara Nimis

Mellon Globalization Forum Post-Doctoral Fellow in Arabic
Ph.D. Georgetown University, Washington D.C.; M.A., Miami University, Oxford, OH; B.A., Macalester College, St.Paul, MN


Sara Nimis received a PhD from Georgetown University Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, where she studied classic genres of Islamic literature, including Qur’an, hadith, law, and sacred biography. Her research and teaching deal with a broad range of contemporary topics, including Sufism (Islamic Mysticism), gender, sexuality and the body in Islam, Islamic environmental activism, the social and political history of Egypt, modernization and secularization in Egypt, Arabic language and literature and postcolonial literature, emphasizing the continued relevance of classical interpretive traditions in informing the framing, reasoning and emotional impact of symbols and arguments, in many areas of cultural production.

Nimis is presently developing her dissertation into a monograph that places the contemporary Islamist-secular divide in Egypt in historical perspective, along with a series of articles that explore the way that concepts and narratives associated with Sufism provide organizing principles and practices for right action in social, economic and political realms. Her research has been supported by grants from the American Association of University Women, The American research Center in Egypt, The Center for Arabic Study Abroad, and the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship.

Before being awarded the Mellon Fellowship, Nimis taught in the Department of Comparative Religion at Miami University of Ohio, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar, and Georgetown’s Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Washington, DC. As Mellon Globalization Forum fellow, Nimis will teach courses in Arabic language and culture, and Islamic literature, history and culture.  Dr. Nimis left Sewanee after the fall semester of 2016, and is currently doing research in Egypt.