The field of Middle East history is particularly strong at Georgetown. Our PhD program is most known for its emphasis on the social, cultural, and political history of the early modern and modern Arab World and of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. Our doctoral students, in keeping with the research interests of the Middle East faculty and the wider department, are working on topics related to the history of the environment, gender, commodities, social movements, colonialism and post-colonialism, and the military in the Middle East.
Georgetown has unusually rich resources on the Arab World. In the Department of History, Professors Abi-Mershed, Haddad, Tucker, and Voll focus their research on the Arab World, with current projects on subjects as diverse as colonialism, state-building and violence, gender and Mediterranean piracy, Islamic revolutionary movements, and Islamic law and gender. We have research experience in the Maghrib, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, and the Arab Gulf. There are numerous supporting faculty in other departments who work on the Arab World as well. The Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies has rich faculty resources in Arabic literature, both classical and modern, as well as Islamic Studies. Faculty at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) specialize in the anthropology and politics of the Arab World, and many of our PhD students take advantage of their courses and their guidance.
The Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey constitute another of our strengths. Professors Agoston and Aksakal have complementary research interests including the military and economic history of the Ottoman Empire from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, and Kemalist Turkey. The study of the Ottomans reaches to the Balkans and the Arab lands, and many of our PhD students seize the opportunity to construct programs that combine Ottoman/Turkey and Arab regions, as well as the Ottomans and their rivals, the Habsburg Monarchy and Romanov Russia. There are additional faculty resources in the anthropology and politics of modern Turkey available through the Institute for Turkish Studies housed at Georgetown University.
Many of our doctoral students choose to continue their study of the languages of the Middle East while at Georgetown. We have a nationally-acclaimed Arabic program that offers instruction from the basic level right through to advanced literature and content-based courses. Students in our program can also study modern Turkish, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, and Hebrew at all instructional levels.
Our graduate students also participate in the Middle East and North Africa seminar series held under the auspices of the Georgetown Institute for Global History, which brings historians of the region to campus for in-depth seminar presentations. CCAS also hosts an active program of lectures and seminars on the Arab World, many of which are of interest to our students.
The Middle East program has an excellent placement record. Recent graduates hold tenure-line positions at Franklin and Marshall University, Georgetown University, Indiana University, the University of Iowa, Loyola University, Oberlin College, Smith College, and Yale University, among other places.
ABI-MERSHED, Osama W. (PhD, Georgetown, 2003; assoc. prof. and Director of Center for Contemporary Arab Studies)
North Africa, Middle East, Colonial Algeria
ÁGOSTON, Gábor (PhD, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, 1994; assoc. prof.)
Ottoman Empire, Turkey, early modern military
AKSAKAL, Mustafa (PhD, Princeton, 2003; assoc. prof.)
Modern Turkey, Ottoman Empire, Middle East
HADDAD, Yvonne (PhD, Hartford Sem. 1979; prof. and faculty, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding)
Middle East, 20th-century Islamic, social and intellectual
TUCKER, Judith (PhD, Harvard 1981; prof.)
Middle East and Egypt, women, Ottoman
For more information, please contact Professor Judith Tucker (faculty representative to the Graduate Studies Committee). Additionally, we encourage you to contact current graduate student Nicholas Danforth for his perspective on the program; he will also be glad to answer any questions you may have.