Reyhan Durmaz’s research interests include Syriac Christianity, religion and society in late antiquity, hagiography, and Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle Ages. Her first monograph, Stories between Christianity and Islam: Saints, Memory, and Cultural Exchange in Late Antiquity and Beyond (University of California Press, October 2022), examines the transmission of non-biblical saints’ stories and cults from Christianity to Islam. Her other research projects include study of rural Christianities in the Middle Ages in the eastern Mediterranean, and religious skepticism in the medieval Middle East. Dr. Durmaz received her PhD from Brown University (2019), with a Joukowsky Outstanding Dissertation Award in Humanities. She was a Junior Fellow in Byzantine Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection (AY 2018-19). Her research has also been supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
During her time as a Faculty Fellow at the Wolf Humanities Center’s Forum on Migration (AY 2021-22), Dr. Durmaz started working on the first Arabic newspaper published in the United States, Kawkab America, analyzing the ways the Syrian immigrant community articulated religion and religious diversity in 19th-century NYC. She has also recently organized a Boardman online talk series, Destabilizing Religion in the Medieval Middle East (February-March 2022), which examined the categories of religion and non-religion in the context of the medieval Middle East.
She is affiliated with the Ancient History Graduate Group, Global Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and the Middle East Center at Penn, and a member of the American Academy of Religion, Society of Biblical Literature, North American Patristics Society, Byzantine Studies Association of North America, and the Middle East Studies Association. She also serves as the co-chair of the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian Origins, and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Wolf Humanities Center.
Dr. Durmaz is the Faculty Research Fellow at Fordham University’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center for the AY 2022-23. With this fellowship, she researches forms and expressions of Christianity in the medieval Middle Eastern countryside. In connection to this project, she is building a digital photograph archive of medieval churches and monasteries – Visualizing Countryside.