Dr. Yonatan Binyam to join MELC as Assistant Professor of Ancient Mediterranean & Ethiopic Studies

November 3, 2023

MELC is excited to announce that Dr. Yonatan Binyam will join the MELC faculty as an assistant professor of Ancient Mediterranean & Ethiopic Studies starting in Fall 2024. This position is the first time that Berkeley will host a full-time faculty member with a specialization in Ethiopic Studies, and represents an anticipated and exciting expansion of MELC's coverage of the pre-modern world to also include antique to medieval eastern Africa and the Red Sea region.

Dr. Binyam is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He earned his Ph.D. in Religion from Florida State University in 2017. His work investigates the intersections between religion and identity, with a focus on the influence of Christian ideologies on various manifestations of racism and antisemitism. He is currently working on a monograph dealing with the question of premodern race and antisemitism in the Roman Empire during the late antique period. His research also focuses on the receptions of ancient Greek and Latin works within medieval Ge’ez (or Ethiopic) literature. His dissertation examines the receptions of Josephus’s Jewish War within the Hebrew, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions of Sefer Yosippon. Dr. Binyam's published and forthcoming works can be found in several academic journals including Literature Compass, Studies in Late Antiquity, and Viator. He has co-written a handbook forthcoming in 2024 for the Cambridge Elements series on late-antique and medieval Ethiopian history titled Ethiopia and the World: 330-1530 CE (2024). He also has a chapter titled “Race and Religion in Late Antiquity,” which will appear in the forthcoming volume, The Cambridge Companion to Classics and Race. At Cal Dr. Binyam plans to teach courses on topics such as the following: global histories of early Christianity, theories and methods in the study of religion, theories and methods in historiography, Ge’ez (or Classical Ethiopic), and studies of race and religion in the premodern world.