A PDF version can be found here.

Sumayya  joined the faculty at Simmons University’s School of Library and Information Science  in July 2020 after teaching for three years in the Library and Information Studies Program at University College London’s global campus in Doha, Qatar.


Sumayya earned her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Information and Library Science in summer 2016. While at UNC, she also earned the Duke-UNC Graduate Certificate in Middle East Studies.

Sumayya  received an M.A. in Arab Studies from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University in 2006. Her B.A. in Sociology and African-American Studies (double-major) was earned at Wesleyan University in Middletown,CT. As an undergraduate she spent time studying  Moroccan culture and language through study-abroad the School of International Training (SIT) in Rabat, Morocco.


Sumayya received the 2021 Hazel Dick Leonard Faculty Fellowship at Simmons University to work on research related to the archives and collective memory of Black Southerner migration to Chicago in the 1930s.

Sumayya conducted the fieldwork for her dissertation research on the Hassan II Prize for Manuscripts and Archival Documents with the help of a short term grant from the American Institute of Maghrib Studies in the summer of 2015.  This included an internship at the Moroccan Ministry of Culture‘s Directorate of the Book which administers the Hassan II Prize.

She received a FLAS award for the summer of 2012 to study Arabic in Morocco.  She also interned at the National Library of Morocco in Rabat and began an exploratory research project on the digitization of  Arabic manuscripts that was supported by a short-term grant from the American Institute of Maghrib Studies (AIMS).

From 2007-2008, Sumayya  carried out research in Morocco as a U.S. Fulbright research grantee.  Female Islamic scholars and scholarship in current day Morocco was the subject of her research.  During this time she also received a Critical Language Enhancement Award (CLEA) to study Advanced Arabic at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez (ALIF).

As an M.A. student at Georgetown University, she received the Georgetown University Qatar Arabic Language Study Fellowship  to study Arabic at the Qatar University  in Doha, Qatar (2004-2005). She also received the Foreign Language Area Studies Award (FLAS) for the intensive study of Advanced Arabic at Georgetown University in the summer of 2004.

Digital Project  Qatar Talking Archives Project (QTAP)

Recent Publications

Ahmed, S., Clemens, R., Murillo, A. and Patillo, E. (2022). Does it matter: have Black Lives Matter protests opened spaces for collective action in Libraries Archives and Museums? Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies , 4.

Ahmed, S. (2022). Documenting Doha: Collective Memory and Community Archiving in Qatar. Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, 9(10). Available at:

Ahmed, S. (2021). People of remembrance: archival thinking and religious memory in Sufi communities. Archival  Science

Ahmed, S. (2019). Reading Teach for Arabia in Qatar: Self-critical university studies. Review of Middle East Studies, 1-6. doi:10.1017/rms.2019.49

Ahmed, S. (2019). Engaging curation: A literature review. In E. Benoit III & A. Eveleigh Participatory Archives: Theory and Practice. Facet Publishing.

Ahmed, S. (2019). Archives du Maroc? The official and alternative national archives of Morocco Archives and Manuscripts. doi: 10.1080/01576895.2018.1558408 (Link to open-access pre-print, accepted version)  

Ahmed, S. (2018). Seeking information from the lips of people”: Oral history’s place in the archives of Qatar and the Gulf region. Archival Science. 

Ahmed (2016). For a Morocco that Reads: The Crisis of Reading and Recent Initiatives to Revive Libraries and Reading in Morocco.  In Click, A. (Ed.),  Ahmed, S. (Ed.), Hill, J. (Ed.), et al. (2016). Library and Information Science in the Middle East and North Africa. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Saur.

Ahmed, S. (2016). Learned women: three generations of female Islamic scholarship in Morocco. Journal of North African Studies. Doi: 10.1080/13629387.2016.1158110

Ahmed, S. (2016). Desert Scholarship: The Zawiya Library of the Naṣirīyya Sufi Order. Libraries at the Heart of the Dialogue of Cultures and Religions: History, Present, Future. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Book Reviews

Agadir: Book Review. MELA Notes: Journal of Middle Eastern Librarianship (2021)

A Muslim Suicide by BenSalem Himmich,MELA Notes: Journal of Middle Eastern Librarianship 86 (2013).

Human Rights, Suffering, and Aesthetics in Political Prison Literature. InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, 8(2) 2012.


“Archival Formations: Igoudar – Amazigh Collective Granaries and Archival History,” Archival Research and Education Institute (AERI), Invited Keynote, July 12, 2022

“From Private Archives: Using Societal Provenance to Connect Islamic(ate) Manuscripts to Local Communities in Morocco,” Middle East Librarians Association Social Justice Lecture Series, Virtual
(Invited Talk), December 13, 2021

“Plotting the Journey: Ibn Battuta’s Rihla Manuscript and the Silence of Colonial Confiscations,” Migrations of The Book Conference, Texas A &M University, Virtual, October 14, 2021(co-presenter)

“What Matters to Archives? Preliminary survey results of archivists and archival scholars on institutional responses to 2020 BLM calls for social justice,” Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI),  Virtual, July 15, 2021 (co-presenter)

Roundtable: “Anti-Racist Pedagogy in Archives and Digital Curation,” Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI), Virtual, July 13, 2021 (panelist)

Roundtable: “Decolonizing Islamicate Manuscript Studies” British Society for Middle East Studies (BRIMSES), Virtual, July 8, 2021 (panelist and co-convener)

“Lost in Transcription: Transcripts of Qatari Arabic on the Qatar Talking Archives Project (QTAP) site” Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), Right to Left Conference, June 8, 2021

“A Fractured Inheritance: The Problems, Challenges, and Opportunities of Collecting Manuscript Fragments” Rare Book School (RBS), Panelist, September 15, 2020

“More Heritage, Less Archivist: An Exploration of the Paucity of Archivists in the Heritage Practices of Qatar” Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI), University of Liverpool, July 8-12, 2019

“To the Nation, Belong the Archives: Nationalist Archival Imagination and Contemporary Contests for Morocco’s Documentary Heritage,” En Quête D’archives / In Search of Archives: Contemporary Approaches to the Past Conference, Berlin, Germany, January 23 – 26, 2019

“From the Archives of Pre-colonial Medicine: An 1832 Moroccan Medical Diploma” The Medical Humanities in the Middle East Conference, Doha, Qatar, November 17, 2018

“Is This the National Archive? Colonial Records and Present-Day Silence in the Archives of Morocco” Society of American Archivists Conference, Washington D.C., August 16, 2018

“The Qatar Talking Archives Project: Collecting Information about Qatar’s Oral Histories” UCL Qatar Symposium on Community Archives: Preserving Public History and Memory in the Middle East, Msheireb Museums, Doha, Qatar, May 3, 2018

“I’ve only been here for two days, how do you…?” WhatsApp group as a social and collaborative  information seeking platform for Muslim expatriate women in Qatar” iConference 2018, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK, March 25-28, 2018 (Poster)

Avenues for Digital Research Projects on Morocco”   Digital Humanities Abu Dhabi (DHAD) Conference, NYU-Abu Dhabi, April 10-12, 2017

“And We Keep a Copy: Digitization, Ownership and Colonial Memories” Middle East Librarians Association (MELA) sponsored panel at Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting (MESA), Washington D.C., November 22-25, 2014

“Flexible Strategies for Uncertain Times: An Innovative Approach to LIS Education in the Middle East and North Africa” (Co-author), IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Lyon, France, August 16-22, 2014

“Developing Readers: The Crisis of Reading in Morocco and Recent Initiatives to Promote Reading” IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Lyon, France, August 16-22, 2014. Paper can be found here.

“Desert Scholarship: The Zawiya Library of the Nasiriyya Sufi Brotherhood,” IFLA Religious Libraries in Dialogue Special Interest Group Satellite Meeting, Paris, France, August 25 – 26, 2014

“The Hassan II Prize for Manuscripts and Archival Documents: the Tension between Archival Disclosure and National Heritage in Morocco”(Poster), Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI) July 14-18, 2014 at University of Pittsburgh.  [Awarded 1st place by the conference jury. ]

“Andalusian Astronomers: Connecting Manuscripts on Astronomy from Early Islamic Spain,” at the Eighth Islamic Manuscript Conference,  9-11 July 2012, Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

“The Tradition of Female Islamic Education in Morocco”   at Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar (SERMEISS) , March 17, 2012 at UNC Chapel Hill.
*Awared the Herbert L. Bodman Award for Best Paper by a Graduate Student for this presentation.

Teaching Experience

Instructor, Simmons University

Oral History (LIS-433,graduate, Fall 2021, Spring 2022)
Introduction to Archival Theory and Practice
( LIS-438,graduate, Fall 2020, 2021, 2022, Spring 2021,2022)
Archives, History, and Collective Memory
(LIS-443, graduate, Fall 2020, 2022,Spring 2021)

Instructor, University College London-Qatar

Islamic Manuscripts ( UCLQ 0037, Spring 2019)

Introduction to Archives and Preservation
(UCLQ 0015, graduate,Fall 2018 and Fall 2019)

Research Methods for Information and Library Science
(UCLQG409, graduate, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019)

Reference and Information Services
(UCLQG414, graduate, Fall 2017)

Digital Resources for the Humanities
(UCLQG408, graduate, Spring 2017)

Instructor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tools for Information Literacy
(INLS 161-002, undergraduate, Spring 2016) Website

National Archives: Politics, Memory, and Public History
(INLS 690-241, graduate, Fall 2015, developed course)

Access, Outreach, and Public Service in Cultural Heritage Repositories
(INLS 754, graduate, Fall 2015, co-Instructor  with Dr. Denise Anthony). Website.

Teaching Assistant, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
History of the Book
(INLS 550, graduate, Spring 2015, taught sections on the book in the Islamicate world). Website.

Professional Affiliations

Sumayya is a member of the International Council on Archives, The Society of American Archivists  (she is a member of the Editorial Board of the American Archivist peer-reviewed journal),  The Islamic Manuscript Association, and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies .