Melissa received her BA in Music from the University of Chicago. Her current research focuses on how musicians teach political notions of place through sound, specifically focusing on classical Arabic music pedagogy in Jordan.
She is also an oudist and performs regularly with the Aswat Ensemble in Oakland and Berkeley’s Disoriental. Her primary oud teachers are Omar Abbad (Jordan) and Jamal Benbrahim (Morocco), but she has also had lessons with Tareq Jundi (Jordan), Charbel Rouhana (Lebanon), and Muhammad Qadri Dalal (Syria) on oud, and Loay Dahbour (Palestine) on percussion.
Melissa is currently on leave for the 2017–18 academic year, studying Arabic literature in Cairo through the CASA program.
Levantine and Gulf music, theories of place and place-making, migration studies, secularism and secularity, affective labor, phenomenology, sound studies, sound and violence, temporality, late Ottoman studies