llona Gerbakher

After completing her degree as a Presidential Scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, Ilona lived in Morocco, Qatar, Israel, and Egypt, studying classical Arabic, French, Hebrew, and Farsi. Currently, she is a PhD student in Islamic Studies at Columbia University, with a focus on antinomian Sufism in Abbasid Baghdad. Her work explores the embodied experience of Sufi men and women living in medieval Baghdad--how does the Sufi body change the city, and how does the city change the Sufi body? Drawing on both contemporary critical theory and classical Sufi literary and theological texts, Ilona is interested in bridging the divide between Islamic Studies and Anthropology, and considers herself an "ethnographer of text."