People

Penn IUR is affiliated with more than 200 experts in the field of urbanism. Its Faculty Fellows program identifies faculty at the University of Pennsylvania with a demonstrated interest in urban research; the Penn IUR Scholars program identifies urban scholars outside of Penn; and the Penn IUR Fellows program identifies expert urban practitioners. Together, these programs foster a community of scholars and encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration.

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Affiliated PhD Student

Jane Abell

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Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

About

Jane Lief Abell is a second year doctoral student in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research explores Islam in the United States, with a particular focus on how race and religion inform relations among "native" and immigrant Muslim groups. Currently, she is working with Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture, an Arabic language and arts organization based in West Philly, and conducting fieldwork in Northeast Philadelphia. Prior to entering graduate school, Jane held several research and editorial positions at the Center for Middle East Studies at Harvard University; Harvard Divinity School; the Berkman Center for Internet & Society; the Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights; and Law People Management, LLC. Jane holds a BA with High Honors in Sociology & Anthropology and Islamic Studies from Swarthmore College. 

 

Affiliated PhD Student

Shashank Saini

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About

Shashank Saini is a doctoral student of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on understanding violence in the face of rapid  transformations in the political economy of  urban India. Shashank’s dissertation research uses the optic of gendered embodiment, particularly masculinity,  to understand the subject making processes of male youth residing in peri-urban settings in Delhi.
Faculty Fellow

Brian Spooner

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Professor in Anthropology

Penn Museum Curator for Near Eastern Ethnology

About

Brian Spooner is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences, and Curator for Near Eastern Ethnology in the Penn Museum. He is a social anthropologist who studies the role of cities in the history of globalization, with special reference to the Middle East and Central Asia. His major research activities have been in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, where he has focused on urban investment in irrigation engineering and, more recently, on the relationship between literacy and the growth and proliferation of cities. His current project deals with changing modes of social interaction in non-Western global cities. He served as Chair of the Anthropology Graduate Group at Penn from 1985-1988, as Director of the Middle East Center from 1986-1995, as Co-Director of the Lauder Institute 2010-2012, and as Chair of the Undergraduate Program in Anthropology from 2014-2017. Spooner is also the Consulting Editor for Encyclopaedia Iranica at Columbia University.

Selected Publications

Spooner, Brian, ed. 2015. Globalization: The Crucial Phase. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Spooner, Brian. 2013. “Investment and Translocality. Recontextualizing the Baloch in Islamic and Global History.” In Crossroads Asia Working Paper Series No. 14.

Spooner, Brian and Harold F. Schiffman, eds. 2012. Language Policy and Language Conflict in Afghanistan and Its Neighbors. Leiden: Brill.

Spooner, Brian and William L. Hanaway, eds. 2012. Literacy in the Persianate World: Writing and the Social Order. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012.

Spooner, Brian and William L. Hanaway. 2007. Reading Nasta'liq: Persian and Urdu Hands 1500 to the Present, 2nd edition. Costa Mesa CA: Mazda Publications. 

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