• Faculty

  • Olga Verlato

    Part-time Lecturer


    Office Location
    B - 65 West 11th Street

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    Olga Verlato


    I am a part-time instructor at the Eugene Lang College and a doctoral candidate in History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University. My research and teaching focus on the history of the modern Middle East and the Mediterranean. I am particularly interested in the history of language, multilingual practices, and ideology in relation to imperial and nationalist politics, and the critical reconsideration of “cosmopolitan” relations in the colonial Mediterranean.

    My dissertation, “Languages of Power and People: Multilingualism and Ideology in Modern Egypt and the Mediterranean” historicizes the emergence, over the nineteenth and early-twentieth century, of our dominant association of the nation state with monolingualism by connecting it to a longer genealogy of multilingual practices and governance in imperial and colonial contexts. I also work on the history of education as a primary arena of linguistic and cultural contact and friction, and state-building intervention. I have written, for example, on the competition between Egyptian and foreign state and private elementary schools in the Suez Canal region, and the history of Italian education across Egypt in the late-nineteenth century.

    I am also interested in music and local cultural production. The first academic article I ever published reconstructed the journey of an Egyptian popular song from the nineteenth century in which a mother lamented her son’s conscription into the army. As the Middle East editor at the Borderlines Journal, I am currently hosting a conversation series on the history of music in the modern Middle East and beyond.

    Degrees Held

    M.A. in Near Eastern Studies, NYU, 2017

    B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, 2015

    Recent Publications

    “‘Their Parents Are All Sailors and Blue-Collar Workers:’ Elementary Education in the Suez Canal Region at the Turn of the Century” in Italy and the Suez Canal, Barbara Curli ed. Palgrave MacMillan, Spring 2022.

    “Egypt 1919: The Revolution in Literature and Film by Dina Heshmat.” Review in Arab Studies Journal 29: 2 (Fall 2021).

    “Practicing Italian Education in the Egyptian 1890s: A Case Study." In Italian Subalterns in Egypt. Costantino Paonessa ed. UC Louvain Atelier d'Erasme, 2021: 79-94.

    “Even if the Sons of Rum Are not like Him: The Spatial and Temporal Journey of a Late Nineteenth-Century Egyptian Song.” Middle East - Topics & Arguments. 10 (2018): 95-107.

    Past Courses

    Intro to History of Mid. East
    LHIS 2051, Fall 2023

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