Prof Andrew Arsan
I am a historian of the Arab and Mediterranean worlds, with a particular interest in the cultural, social, intellectual, and political histories of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Levant; political thought and intellectual life in the world beyond Europe; French imperialism in the region and beyond; and diaspora and the trans-regional movement of people.
I grew up in Lebanon, France, and the United Kingdom, and completed my undergraduate and graduate studies at Cambridge. After teaching at Birkbeck for a year, I spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton. I returned to Cambridge as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in 2012, and took up my present position in 2013. Since then, I have taught a wide variety of courses in Middle Eastern, global, and European history.
I’m currently at work on two book projects: a new intellectual and political history of the Arab twentieth century, for publication with Allen Lane and Basic Books; and a synoptic history of the lands that we now call Lebanon, under contract with Cambridge University Press.
In 2016-17, I was the Chaire Ganshof van der Meersch at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where I gave a series of lectures on ‘European Order and Middle Eastern Disorder’. I’ve also been fortunate to spend time as a visiting fellow at the American University of Beirut and at North Carolina State University.
From 2018-2021, I held a Philip Leverhulme Prize in History.
I welcome inquiries from prospective graduate students interested in the history of the Arab world – and in particular the Arabic-speaking Eastern Mediterranean – from c.1850 to the present day. Past and current graduate students have worked on topics including: histories of 'insanity' in Mandate Palestine; right-wing thought in the Lebanese civil war; history-writing and ideas of the Arab subject in mid-twentieth-century Lebanon and Syria; licit and illicit migration in late Ottoman Beirut and Alexandria; and Shi'a reformism in early twentieth-century Iraq.
I convene the third-year course 'Middle Eastern Modernities, c.1850-2011'.
From 2013 to 2018, I served as Convenor of the Part I survey paper 'Empires and World History from the Fifteenth Century to the First World War'. I have also lectured for Papers 18, 'European History since 1890', and 23, 'World History since 1914', and taught for a variety of primary-source based Themes & Sources courses – and in particular 'The Bandung Moment', on anti-colonial thought in the twentieth century.
I have also co-taught the Core Course of the MPhil in World History, 'Debates in World History'.
I currently serve as the Reviews Editor of the Historical Journal. I am also one of the founders of the journal Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies, which I currently co-edit with Akram Khater (North Carolina State University) and Stacy Fahrenthold (UC Davis).