Marina Rustow is a social historian of the medieval Middle East, and works with a relatively neglected type of source: documents, especially sources from the Cairo Geniza, a cache of roughly 400,000 folio pages and fragments preserved in an Egyptian synagogue. She also works with Arabic papyri and paper documents from other sources. Most of her research has centered on Egypt and Syria from the tenth century to the fifteenth,
Her first book was Heresy and the Politics of Community: The Jews of the Fatimid Caliphate (2008). She published a pilot article on a Fatimid petition in BSOAS(link is external) in 2010, and a pilot collaborative study(link is external)in 2011. Marina Rustow also wrote the book The Lost Archive: Traces of a Caliphate in a Medieval Synagogue(link is external) (2020), and a pair of articles published in late 2019, one on Fatimid state documents(link is external) and the other on the Fatimid petition(link is external).
Marina Rustow holds a BA in Literature from Yale College. After under undergraduate education, she spent two years as an editor of long-form print journalism and four studying the textual history of the Babylonian Talmud. She did her doctorate in history at Columbia with Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi.
Marina Rustow runs Princeton’s Geniza Lab and she advises projects on medieval Middle Eastern or Jewish history. She is especially interested in social and economic history before the Ottomans.