Nasser Meerkhan

PhD Student
New Cabell Hall 438
Office Hours:


Ph.D., Spanish Literature, University of Virginia (expected 2018)
M.A., Hispanic Studies, Villanova University (2013)
B.A., Spanish Literature, Damascus University, Syria (2011)


Between Granada's Fading Glory and Castile's Incipient Empire: Historiography and the Islamic Conquest in Medieval Iberia

The dissertation deals with the concepts of imagination, nostalgia and ephemerality in the shaping of Medieval Iberian Islamic historiography. I argue that contradictory prophecies regarding the destiny of Islam in Iberia reflect a nostalgic view towards the Umayyad Caliphate; one where not only its brief glory but also its inevitable fall are anticipated in Al-Andalus. I look at the works of three historians: two Muslims (Ibn Al-Qutiyya, 10 th c. and Ibn Al-Khatib, 14 th c.) and those of Alfonso the Wise, as well as one chapter in Cervantes’s Don Quixote Part II. The objective is to reach a better understanding of the role played by Al-Andalus in the pragmatics of history writing in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia. By resorting to Iberian authors from different historic and cultural backgrounds, I aim to emphasize the transcultural and trans-temporal significance of their contributions to this broader view of Medieval and Early Modern Iberian history.

Research Interests

  • Medieval & Early Modern Iberia
  • Historiography in Al-Ándalus
  • Semitic maqamat
  • Picaresque literature
  • Medieval Islamic Philosophy


  • SPAN 3300 Texts and Interpretation (2016-17)
  • Intermediate Spanish I & II (UVa 2013-2016, Villanova University 2011-2013)
  • SPAN 4993 Language House - Casa Bolívar. (2013-14)
  • Intensive summer courses at UVa and Valencia, Spain (Summer 2014, 2015)
  • Introduction to Hispanic Cultural Studies in Cádiz, Spain (Summer 2012)


Translations (Spanish and English to Arabic, or viceversa)

Hajo, Gulnar. La aventura de Punto. Mixco, Guatemala: Amanuense, 2014. Print. ISBN: 9789929633186

Miró, Asha, and Anna Soler-Pont. Āthār Al-Ṣandal: Rastros De Sandalo: riwāyah. Bayrūt: al-Dār al-ʻArabīyah lil-ʻUlūm, 2011. Print. ISBN: 9786140101005.

Ayen, Xavi. Thawrat Nobel: Rebeldía De Nobel. UAE: Dar Al Thaqafa for Publishing & Distribution, 2011. Print. ISBN: 9789948446194.

Grisham, John. The Rainmaker. Aleppo, Syria: Ray Publishing & Science, 2010. Print.

Selected Presentations

“Failure of male-friendship in Celestina”, MIFLC: The 66th Annual Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference (October, 2016)

"A checker pattern woven of intellect: Misconceptions of the maqāmā genre in Iberian criticism", The 51st International Congress on Medieval Studies (May, 2016).

"A non-Arab's Journey to Colonial Spanish America: The Curious Case of Elias Al-Musili";, KFLC: The Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Conference. (April, 2016)

“For the Sake of Communication in Ḥayy Ibn Yaqzān: The Philosophus Autodidactus Revisited”, Dialogue and Difference in the Middle Ages, University of Bristol, UK (February, 2016)

"Dos marcos narrativos maestros y distintos: la maqāmā y la picaresca." Graduate Student Lecture Series, Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, UVa (September, 2014).

“Genette, Arguedas y los zorros: una aproximación paratextual” in the conference “celebrating the centenary of José María Arguedas”, Villanova University (October 2011)

Grants & Awards

Buckner W. Clay award in the Humanities to research the influence of Islamic escatology in Dante’s Divine Commedy (2016-2017)

Admitted with subsidy to the summer school ”Reading Pleasure – Pleasure Reading. Medieval approaches to reading” in Istanbul, 23-28 May 2016.

Charles Gordon Reid, Jr Summer Travel Fellowship to take a course on El Greco in El Museo del Prado, organized by El Escorial (Summer 2014)

Summer Research Grant from Villanova University to work on the project: "The notion of cruelty in popular songs from Syria to Spain" (Summer 2012)

MAEC Scholar at Salamanca, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (allows foreign students to take summer courses at Spanish universities) (Summer 2008)

Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Scholar, US Department of State (allows Middle Eastern students to spend a school year in the US with a host family) (2005-2006)