Less Commonly Taught Languages Program| Illinois


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See the links below for information regarding each language program.

For information on the Summer Institute for the Languages of the Muslim World (SILMW) see SILMW website

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Faculty Members

LCTL lecturers

Eman Saadah (Arabic)

eman_2Eman Saadah is the Director of the Less Commonly Taught Languages Program at the University of Illinois. She is also the Director and Coordinator of Arabic and Senior lecturer of Linguistics. Dr. Saadah has extensive experience in teaching Arabic and has been placed on the University of Illinois List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students throughout her teaching career. In addition to teaching a variety of semester-based courses, she has also taught summer intensive classes at the Summer Institute for the Languages of the Muslim World [SILMW] and served as its Director since 2015. Her research interests are in the field of Arabic, applied linguistics, and morphosyntax. Specifically, her work focuses on comparing the language acquisition of heritage speakers of Arabic and that of second language learners.

Office: FLB 4030
Office hours: MW 12-12:50 pm
Email: esaadah2@illinois.edu

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Josephine El Karkafi (Arabic)

joesphine_2Josephine El Karkafi is an Arabic Instructor at UIUC. She consistently makes the UIUC List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent. In Lebanon, she earned her Master's degree and completed coursework for a Ph.D. at the Lebanese University (UL), the premier public research university of the Arabic-speaking world. Her thesis looked at how French colonial attempts to "liberate" Lebanese women brought about their domestication into the private sphere, which lingered on even after women's emancipatory agendas multiplied from the 1960s to today. She also did research about Muslim-Christian interreligious marriage in Lebanon and the spiritual upbringing of the children. She is now working on a new research project about the acquisition of Lebanese citizenship among Lebanese descendents in the United States. She has expertise in the social sciences and clinical social work. For several years she was the manager of the Department of Social Services at Saad Specialist Hospital where she was in charge of the social work department's policies and procedures, patient assessment, and staff management. She also served as a key member of the hospital's accreditation and re-accreditation with U.S., Canadian, and Australian authorities.

Office: FLB 4123
Email: karkafi@illinois.edu

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Mithilesh Mishra (Bangla, Hindi, Urdu)

mishra_2Mithilesh Mishra taught Hindi at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and at the summer school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison before starting his teaching career at the University of Illinois. Trained as a linguist, Dr. Mishra has a keen interest in the second language acquisition of Hindi and Urdu in a variety of contexts, including language teaching, linguistics, literature, culture, and business. The course on Business Hindi (UIUC's course on Business Hindi, first offered at the UIUC in 2009) was the first such course to be taught at the university level in the US. Developing a Hindi minor at the University of Illinois was another milestone achievement in the teaching career of Dr. Mishra.

Office: FLB 4037
Office hours: W 10-12 noon & by appointment
Email: mithileshmishraji@gmail.com

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Stephanos Katsikas (Modern Greek)

stephanos_2Stephanos Katsikas has been the Director of Modern Greek Studies and Language Coordinator of Modern Greek at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since September 2012. Prior to his appointment at UIUC he held academic positions at British universities (Teaching Assistant, University College London; Visiting Lecturer - equivalent to Visiting Assistant Professor in the USA - at the University of Nottingham; and Lecturer - equivalent to Assistant Professor - at Goldsmiths, University of London). Dr. Katsikas is a historian and political scientist by training. He holds a BA in History from the Ionian University (Greece), an MA in Southeast European Studies and a PhD in Contemporary Diplomatic History/International Relations from the University College London. Dr. Katsikas's research interests lie in the field of modern history and the politics of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean, with specialization in research areas such as democratization, conflict, post-conflict resolution and security in Southeastern Europe, religion, nationalism and violence, and minority-state relations. He is the author of Negotiating Diplomacy in Europe: Foreign Policy in Post-Communist Bulgaria; the sole editor of Bulgaria and Europe: Shifting Identities and of European Modernity and Islamic Reformism among Muslims of the Balkans in the Late-Ottoman and post-Ottoman Period; and the co-editor of State-Nationalisms in the Ottoman Empire, Greece and Turkey: Orthodox and Muslims. He has published extensively in prestigious peer-reviewed academic journals and presented research findings at international conferences and as an invited guest lecturer. He has also appeared in local, national and international media.

Office: FLB 3092D
Office hours: by appointment

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Zahra Dastgheib (Persian)

zahra_2Zahra Dastgheib is a native speaker of Persian (Farsi) language and an Instructor for the Persian language course in the SILMW program. She holds a MA degree in French Teaching from Azad University in Tehran, Iran. Her past experience includes teaching French to undergraduate students in Iran and teaching Persian to American youth.


Office: FLB 4103

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Mary Gathogo (Swahili, Wolof)

mary_2 Mary Gathogo is a lecturer of Swahili at the University of Illinois. Dr. Gathogo is the Director for the Sub-Saharan African Languages Program and the Director and Coordinator for the Swahili program. She has a PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs and a Master's in Applied Linguistics from Ohio University, Athens. She also holds a B.Ed in English Language and Literature from Kenyatta University, Kenya. Her research interest is in international education, specifically the development of intercultural competence through study abroad and foreign language learning. A secondary area of research is international academic collaboration, focusing on the dynamics of academic collaboration between African and Western higher education institutions. She has taught Swahili in the US at different levels since 2009. She will be joining SILMW to teach SWAH 403/SWAH 404.

Office: FLB 4109
Email: gathogo@illinois.edu

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Ayse Ozcan (Turkish)

ayse_2Ayse Ozcan is a lecturer and program coordinator of Turkish at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Syracuse University. She started teaching Turkish as a Fulbright FLTA at Syracuse University. She then continued teaching all levels of Turkish in France and the United States. She joined the Department of Linguistics at UIUC after teaching at Columbia University as a Visiting Lecturer. She also has many years of experience of teaching English. Her research interests lie in the field of multiculturalism, secularism, and identity with a focus on Islamic organizations in Western Europe, space-making practices among French Muslim youth, and their politics of secularism.

Office: FLB 4114
Email: aozcan@illinois.edu

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