Prof Andrew Arsan

Professor of Arab and Global History
Fellow, St John’s College
Andrew Arsan

Andrew Arsan is a historian of the Arab world, with a particular interest in the region's cultural, political, and intellectual history; European imperialism in the Middle East and North Africa; and diaspora and the transregional movement of people.

He is the author of two books, the prize-winning Interlopers of Empire (2014) and a study of contemporary Lebanon, Lebanon in Fragments (2018), and the co-editor of a major collection on the Mandate states of the Middle East. He has also published articles in journals including Comparative Studies in Society and History, Modern Intellectual History, the Journal of Global History, and the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, as well as a number of chapters in edited collections.  

Andrew is currently completing a new political and intellectual history of the 'Arab twentieth century' for publication with Basic Books and Allen Lane.

He has previously held positions at Birkbeck and Princeton, and was the 2016-17 Chaire Ganshof van der Meersch at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. In 2018, he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in History. 

One of the founding editors of the Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies, he has also served as the reviews editor of the Historical Journal.

Born in Beirut, he grew up in Lebanon, France, and the United Kingdom. 

Andrew has taught or co-taught a range of courses in Middle Eastern, imperial, and global history at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Andrew welcomes inquiries from prospective graduate students interested in the history of the Arab world from the late nineteenth century to the present day. He is particularly interested in proposals that focus on present-day Lebanon and Syria and on the region's intellectual and cultural history. 


Tags & Themes


Key Publications


Lebanon: A Country in Fragments (London and New York: Hurst, 2018; updated paperback edition, February 2020) 

Interlopers of Empire: The Lebanese Diaspora in Colonial French West Africa (London and New York: Hurst and Oxford University Press, 2014), Joint Winner, 2014 Royal Historical Society Gladstone Prize 

Edited volumes and special issues 

Co-edited with Cyrus Schayegh, The Routledge Handbook of the History of the Middle Eastern Mandates (London: Routledge, 2015) 

Co-edited with Su Lin Lewis and Anne-Isabelle Richard, ‘Global Civil Society in the Interwar Years’, special issue of the Journal of Global History 7, 2 (July 2012)

Selected articles and book chapters

'An Ottoman Arab Man of Letters and the Meanings of Empire, c.1860', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 31 (2021), 89-114

'Aux Origines du Confessionalisme Libanais', Revue du XIXe Siècle 58 (2019), pp. 165-67

'"He Tampers with the Source of Life Itself Who Tampers with Freedom": Personhood, the State and the International Community in the Thought of Charles Malik', in Simon Jackson and Alanna O'Malley, eds., The Institution of International Order: From the League of Nations to the United Nations (London: Routledge, 2018), 22-42

‘“There is, in the Heart of Asia, … an Entirely French Population”’: France, Mount Lebanon, and the Workings of Affective Empire in the Mediterranean, c.1830-1919’, in Patricia Lorcin and Todd Shepard, eds., French Mediterraneans: Transnational and Imperial Histories (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2016), pp. 76-100

'The Patriarch, the Amir and the Patriots: Civilisation and Self-Determination at the Paris Peace Conference', in T.G. Fraser, ed., The First World War and its Aftermath: The Shaping of the Middle East (London: Haus, 2015), pp. 127-45

'"A Unique Little Country": Lebanon, the United States, and the Meanings of Independence in the Writings of Charles Malik, c. 1946-1962', in Elisabeth Leake and Leslie James, eds., Decolonisation and the Cold War: Negotiating Independence (London: Bloomsbury, 2015), pp. 107-22  

‘Under the Influence? Translations and Transgressions in Late Ottoman Imperial Thought’, Modern Intellectual History 10, 2 (August 2013), pp. 373-95

'Editorial Foreword – On Forgotten Shores: Migration in Middle Eastern Studies, and the Middle East in Migration Studies', (co-authored with John Tofik Karam and Akram Khater), Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies 1, 1 (Winter 2013), pp. 1-7

‘“This Age is the Age of Associations”: Committees, Petitions, and the Roots of Interwar Middle Eastern Internationalism’, Journal of Global History 7, 2 (July 2012), pp. 166-88

‘Failing to Stem the Tide: Lebanese Migration to French West Africa and the Competing Prerogatives of the Imperial State’, Comparative Studies in Society and History 53, 3 (July 2011), pp. 450-78