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Valentina A. Grasso

Biography:

I am a final-year Ph.D. candidate at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. After Classical Studies in high school, I pursued a degree in Semitic Philology at the University of Catania and studied Imperial Aramaic and Classical Arabic, graduating in 2015 (110/110 cum laude). My undergraduate thesis focused on the Philistines and the early alphabets of the Mediterranean. After graduating, I enrolled in the Master's degree in “Oriental Languages and Cultures” at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” where I continued to study both Classical Arabic and Biblical Hebrew. My M.A. dissertation in Islamic Studies was entitled “The Pre-Islamic Milieu of Arabia. An Inquiry into the Jhiliya and the Rise of the Latest Abrahamic Religion” (110/110 cum laude). I spent my last M.A. year in England, as an Erasmus student at SOAS, University of London. During my studies, I have also attended courses sponsored by the University of Oxford, Princeton University, HMML/Dumbarton Oaks and Hamburg University.

At the University of Cambridge I am working on the history of late antique pre-Islamic Arabia under the supervision of Professor Garth Fowden. I am interested in the history of the first millennium, with special reference to the religious attitudes of the inhabitants of Arabia and Aksum during Late Antiquity. In the last three years at Cambridge, I taught courses at the Faculty of Divinity, attended/organised more than twenty conferences, published several academic articles, and received eighteen grants and awards.

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