Bilal Appointed Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor at Columbia University

NEW YORK—Dr. Melissa Bilal has been appointed the Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian Visiting Professor in the Department of Middle East, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University for the spring of 2016. She will be teaching a course on “Ottoman-Armenian Women: Comparative Perspectives,” which will explore Ottoman-Armenian women’s intellectual history in relation to the gender and sexuality discourses of the late Ottoman society. The course also aims to familiarize students with the debates that have been shaping the Ottoman feminist historiography for the last two decades.

Bilal received her Ph.D. in music from the University of Chicago and her B.A. and M.A. degrees in sociology at Bogazici University. She is the co-author of the book, Bir Adalet Feryadi,Osmanli’dan Cumhuriyet’e Bes, Ermeni Feminist Yazar (1862-1933) [A cry for justice: Five Armenian feminist writers from the Ottomans to the Republic (1862-1933)] with Lerna Ekmekcioglu, published in 2006. Her recent research focuses on the historical formation of Ottoman-Armenian music ethnography in relation to the politics of land and culture at the turn of the 20th century.

The visiting professorship program at Columbia is made possible by an endowment established by the late Dr. Nikit and Eleanora Ordjanian in 1998. Previous visiting professors have included Levon Abrahamian, Vardan Azatyan, Peter Balakian, George Bournoutian, Seta Dadoyan, Helen Evans, Roberta Ervine, Rachel Goshgarian, Arman Grigoryan, Robert Hewsen, Armen Marsoobian, Ara Sarafian, and Khachig Tololyan.

The visiting professorship is one of several programs of the Armenian Center at Columbia, which raised the initial funds to establish a chair of Armenian Studies at Columbia in 1979 and which continues to provide funds for scholarships, library acquisitions, academic publications, lectures, conferences, and symposia.

This seminar style course (W4356, Call # 77205) will be taught on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:10-5:25 p.m. and is open to auditors as well as matriculating students. Registration is from Jan. 11-15, 2016; classes begin on Jan. 19. The tuition for auditors is $2,400, and for life long learners (people aged 65 and over) is $750. Registration for auditors may be completed online at, and for Life Long Learners at For more information about the Armenian Center at Columbia, call Karen Bedrosian Richardson at (212) 949-1995.

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