Hani Zewail




Hani Zewail specializes in Mediaeval and Contemporary music in the Islamic World, especially on the emphasis of Egypt, Syria, and Historical Iraq. His research interests include Ancient Greek-Mediaeval philosophy of music, Arab Classical Music, phenomenology, and temporality. His Master’s Thesis at UCSB is titled: The Musical language of Body-Soul relations in 9th-10th century Islamic philosophical discourse. Under the tutelage of Dr. Dwight Reynolds, Zewail has analyzed, translated, and created commentaries on Mediaeval Arab works that put him at the center of a fascinating, complex dialectic that began in Ancient Greece and found resonance with thinkers such as Al-Kindī and the Ikhwan al-Safa. His previous work at UC Berkeley was a thesis in Interdisciplinary Studies on fractals or 1/f noise in Arab music, that engaged Zewail in the search for cognitive musical phenomena that were self-similar to physical phenomena found in Islamic geometric and cultural arts. Zewail’s dissertation research will be focused on aspects of temporality in Arab Music with a focus on aesthetics. Consonant with Zewail’s other projects is the focus on interdisciplinary research methodologies. In this project, he hopes to incorporate phenomenology, philosophy of time, and performance theory in a modern context with specific musical cultures and experience in mind such as the eternality of tarab (modal ecstasy) in Egyptian culture. Zewail is an avid believer in performing his own cultural heritage and has ingrained himself in the Arab tradition studying ‘ud for over 7+ years with performers such as Palestinian ud master Naser Musa Jannini and accomplished modal theorist Dr. Scott Marcus.