Marina Rustow

Prof. Marina Rustow
Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East and Professor of History
Princeton University

Marina Rustow is a social historian of the medieval Middle East with an interest in the history of trade, technology, economy, the state and social stratification. She specializes in reading documents in Arabic, Judaeo-Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic, including letters, legal deeds and state administrative and fiscal records, especially from the Cairo Geniza, a cache of manuscripts preserved in a medieval Egyptian synagogue. She is the Khedouri A. Zilkha Professor of Jewish Civilization in the Near East and a professor of Near Eastern studies and history at Princeton University. She also directs the Princeton Geniza Lab, where undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs and faculty work collaboratively to decipher and digitize Geniza documents, and helps run the Manuscript, Rare Book and Archive Studies Initiative. For the last two years she has been deep in digital humanities, working with a team to redesign the Princeton Geniza Project database, forging a multi-institutional collaboration to digitize Arabic manuscripts and understand their provenance histories, and venturing into computational paleography (handwritten text recognition using neural networks to decipher geniza manuscripts). In 2015, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.


Selected Publications

The Lost Archive: Traces of a Caliphate in a Cairo Synagogue (Princeton University Press, 2020)

Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate (Cornell University Press, 2008).