The SAS is led by five directors: Monique Bernards, Hugh Kennedy, John Nawas, Shawkat Toorawa and Maaike van Berkel.
Here you find a short overview of their backgrounds.
Monique Bernards

Monique Bernards is a fulltime independent scholar at the Institute for Advanced Arabic and Islamic Studies (Antwerp, Belgium), Secretary of the School of Abbasid Studies and Executive Editor of the Journal of Abbasid Studies. She is a specialist in the intellectual and social history of the early and classical periods of Islam and, more specifically, in the history of the development of Arabic grammatical theories.

Her publications include “Changing Traditions. Al-Mubarrad’s Refutation of Sībawayh and the Subsequent Reception of the Kitāb” (Leiden: Brill 1997) and, more recently, “Pioneers of Arabic Linguistic Studies” (in Bilal Orfali (ed.), In the Shadow of Arabic, Leiden: Brill 2011, 197-220); “Grammarians’ Circles of Learning: A Social Network Analysis” (in John Nawas (ed.), Abbasid Studies II, Leuven: Peeters, 2010, 143-164).

Shawkat Toorawa

Shawkat Toorawa is Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale. His interests are classical and medieval Arabic literature, modern Arabic poetry, the Qur’an, and the Indian Ocean.

He is co-author of Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition (California, 2001); translator of Adonis’s A Time Between Ashes and Roses: Poems (Syracuse, 2004) co-editor of Law and Education in Medieval Islam: Studies in memory of George Makdisi (Gibb, 2004); co-editor of Arabic Literary Culture, 500-925 (ThomsonGale, 2005); author of Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur and Arabic Writerly Culture: A ninth-century bookman in Baghdad (RoutledgeCurzon, 2005); editor of The Western Indian Ocean: Essays on islands and islanders (HTT, 2007); and co-editor of Islam: A short guide to the faith (Eerdmans). He is preparing a critical edition of the Shifa’ al-‘alil by the eighteenth-century belletrist Azad Bilgrami. He is a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellow; and Co-Executive Editor of the Library of Arabic Literature, an initiative to edit and translate the premodern Arabic literary heritage.

Hugh Kennedy

Hugh Kennedy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Professor of Middle Eastern History at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). His most recent books are In the Court of the Caliphs (2004), When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam’s Greatest Dynasty (2006) and The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In (2007).

John Nawas

John Nawas is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He has written on the religio-political and social history of classical Islam with focus on the caliphate and the ‘ulama. He has been Assistant Editor of the Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an, and is now one of the five Executive Editors of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Third Edition. His most recent book is Al-Ma’mun, the Inquisition, and the Quest for Caliphal Authority (2015).

Maaike van Berkel

Maaike van Berkel is professor of Medieval History at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. She is a specialist in the social and cultural history of the Middle East, with a particular interest in literacy, court culture, bureaucracy and urban studies. Her publications include Crisis and Continuity at the Abbasid Court (with N.M. El Cheikh, H. Kennedy and L. Osti, 2013), Legal Documents as Sources for the History of Muslim Societies (with L. Buskens and P.M. Sijpesteijn, 2017), Prince, Pen and Sword. Eurasian Perspectives (with J. Duindam, 2018) and, “Reconstructing Archival Practices in Abbāsid Baghdad” (in Journal of Abbāsid Studies 1, 2014).