Rice
FIS

FIS image header
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Download 
Scholarly Interest Report
         
Ussama Makdisi
Professor
Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair in Arabic Studies and Professor of History
 
e-mail:makdisi@rice.edu
 
  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 1997
  • BA, Wesleyan University, 1990
 
Primary Department
   Department of History
No Image
 
 
Research Areas
 Modern Middle East, Ottoman history; US Missionary Movements; U.S.-Arab relations; sectarianism.
 

Rethinking US-Arab Relations

 

Ussama Makdisi is Professor of History and the first holder of the Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University.  In April 2009, the Carnegie Corporation named Makdisi a 2009 Carnegie Scholar as part of its effort to promote original scholarship regarding Muslim societies and communities, both in the United States and abroad.


Professor Makdisi is the author of Faith Misplaced: he Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001 (Public Affairs, 2010).  His previous books include Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East (Cornell University Press, 2008), which was the winner of the 2008 Albert Hourani Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association, the 2009 John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, and a co-winner of the 2009 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize given by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies. Makdisi is also the author of The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (University of California Press, 2000) and co-editor of Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa (Indiana University Press, 2006). He has published widely on Ottoman and Arab history as well as on U.S.-Arab relations and U.S. missionary work in the Middle East.  Among his major articles are “Anti-Americanism in the Arab World: An Interpretation of Brief History” which appeared in the Journal of American History and “Ottoman Orientalism” and “Reclaiming the Land of the Bible: Missionaries, Secularism, and Evangelical Modernity” both of which appeared in the American Historical Review. Professor Makdisi has also published in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and in the Middle East Report.


By exploring missed opportunities for cultural understanding, by retrieving unused historical evidence, and by juxtaposing for the first time Arab perspectives and archives with American ones, his work counters a notion of an inevitable clash of civilizations and thus reshapes our view of the history of America in the Arab world.


As a professor at Rice, Makdisi is interested in encouraging a new transnational approach to the study of American foreign relations as well as a more contextual understanding of the modern Middle East.  He is also interested in new scholarship on overseas missionary work.

 
Teaching Areas
 Modern Arab History; Arab-Israeli Conflict; US-Arab Relations; Islam and the West as well as graduate seminars on Civilizing Missions and Race, Religion and Difference and U.S. in the Middle East
 
Selected Publications
 Abstracts
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Thaqafat al-ta'ifiyya." 

 
 

"Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa." In Press

 
 Refereed articles
 

Ussama Makdisi "“Diminished Sovereignty and the Impossibility of ‘Civil War’ in the Modern Middle East,"." American Historical Review, 120 (2015) : 1739-1752.

 
 

"After Said: The Limits and Possibilities of a Critical Scholarship of U.S.-Arab Relations," Diplomatic History 2013; doi: 10.1093/dh/dht104


doi: 10.1093/dh/dht104
 
 

Makdisi, U. "After 1860: Debating Religion, Reform, and Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire." International Journal of Middle East Studies, 34 (2002) : 601-617.

 
 

Makdisi, U. "Anti-Americanism in the Arab World: An Interpretation of Brief History." Journal of American History, History and September 11: A Special Issue, 89 (2) (Sep 2002) : 538-558.

 
 

Makdisi, U. "Ottoman Orientalism." American Historical Review, 107 (3) (Jun 2002) : 768-796.

 
 Articles
 

In the Shadow of Orientalism: The Historiography of U.S.-Arab Relations, under review at the American Historical Review

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Moving Beyond Orientalist Fantasy, Sectarian Polemic and Nationalist Denial." International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (2008)

 
 Books
 

The Culture of Sectarianism, now being translated into Turkish (in progress)

 

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001." 

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "Artillery of Heaven (Arabic translation in progress)." In Revision

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations." 

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East."  (2008)

 
 

"Thaqafat al-ta'fiyya, Arabic translation of Culture of Sectarianism."  (2004)

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon ." 

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in 19th Century Ottoman Lebanon." 

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "The Other Side of Violence: The Modernity of Sectarianism in 19th Century Ottoman Lebanon." 

 
 Editor of books
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Beyond the Clash of Civilizations: Missionaries and Tolerance in the Ottoman Empire." Special Issue of Archaeology and History in Lebanon

 
 Book chapters
 

Ussama Makdisi "“On Anti-Imperialism, Missionary Work, and the King-Crane Commission; or the Prehistory of American Imperialism in the Arab World” ." Empire’s Twin: U.S. Anti-Imperialism from the Founding Era to the Age of Terrorism (2015)

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "“Understanding 1860 in an Ottoman and Global Context” ." 1860: Histoires et mémoires d’un conflit (2015) : 25-32.

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Understanding Sectarianism." The War on Lebanon (2008)

 
 

Christoph Schumann and Thomas Philipp, eds. "Butrus al-Bustani, Missionaries, and the question of Secularism." From the Syrian Land to the States of Syria (2004) : 80-102.

 
 

Jens Hanssen and Thomas Philipp, eds. "Rethinking Ottoman Imperialism: Modernity, Violence, and the Cultural Logic of Ottoman Reform." The Empire in the City: Arab Provincial Cities in the Ottoman Empire (2004) : 300-330.

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Anti-Americanism in the Arab World: An Interpretation of a Brief History." History and September 11th (2003) : 131-157.

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Mapping the Orient: Non-Western Modernization, Imperialism, and the End of Romanticism." Nineteenth-Century Geographies: Anglo-American Tactics of Space (2003) : 40-55.

 
 Book reviews
 

Mathew Jacob, Imagining the Middle East: The Building of an American Foreign Policy, 1918-1967 (Chappell Hill, University of North Carolina Press). July 2012, Available online at http://www.h-net.org/~diplo/roundtables/PDF/Roundtable-XIII-33.pdf

 
 

The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives, Tikkun, Spring 2012.

 
 

John Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq.  Roundtable, Critical Asian Studies 43 (2011): 455-461.

 
 Other
 

Makdisi, Ussama "A Past Without a Future: The Commemoration of the Civil War in Lebanon" [Arabic] ." Al-Adab, reprinted in the daily An-Nahar, 49 (2001) : 21-27.

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "After 1860: Debating Religion, Reform, and Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire ." International Journal of Middle East Studies (forthcoming)

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Rethinking Ottoman Imperialism: Modernity, Violence, and the Cultural Logic of Ottoman Reform ." Arab Provincial Capitals in the Ottoman Empire (2002, forthcoming)

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama "Understanding Sectarianism ." International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) (September 2001)

 
 

Makdisi, Ussama ""Anti-Americanism" in the Arab World: A Brief History." Journal of American History (forthcoming)

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "Rethinking Ottoman Imperialism ." Arab Provincial Capitals in the Ottoman Empire (forthcoming)

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "Mapping the Orient: Space, History and the Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Empire." Nineteenth-Century Geographies: Anglo-American Tactics of Space (in press)

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "Corrupting the Sublime Sultanate: The Revolt of Tanyus Shahin in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon." Comparative Studies in Society and History, 42 (1) (January 2000) : 180-208.

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "Baalbek seen by Western Travelers." Baalbek: Image and Monument, 1898-1998 (1998) : 20.

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "Book review of State and Society in the Ottoman Empire [Dina Khoury]." Middle East Studies Bulletin

 
 

Ussama Makdisi "Gender and Citizenship." Al-Muwatiniyya wa al-jinsiyya fi Lubnan: 15.

 
Presentations
 Invited Papers
 

"Playing God on a New Frontier: The Early Experience of the American Board Mission to Syria." New Faith in Ancient Lands, Leiden University, Netherlands. (January 2005)

 
 

"The Flying of Time: American Missionaries on a New Frontier." Davis Seminar Conference in Honor of Robert L. Tignor, Princeton University. (September 2005)

 
 

"The Grammar of Heresy: Conflict and Coexistence in an Ottoman Arab World." Bilad al-Sham Conference, Erlangen, Germany. (August 2005)

 
 

"Bringing America Back Into the Middle East: A History of the First American Missionary Encounter with the Ottoman Arab World." School of American Research Advanced Seminar on, Santa Fe. (October 2003)

 
 

"Protestantism, Tolerance, and Empire." Comparing Empires: The British and the Ottoman Empires in the Long Nineteenth Century, George Washington University. (April 2003)

 
 

Speaker.  "On Missionaries and History." Bilad al-Sham since the 16th Century: Double Integration into the Ottoman Empire & Modern Europe Workshop, Deutsche Orient Institut, Beirut, Lebanon. (February 2002)

 
 Invited Talks
 

"“American and Ottoman Civil Wars and the Question of Sovereignty in the Middle East,” 2015 Kylan Jones-Huffman Lecture, George Washington University, Oct. 1, 2015.

 ."

 
 

"“The Rise of Sectarianism in the Middle East in an Age of Western Hegemony,” Evanston Public Library, March 2, 2015.."

 
 

"“The Rise of Sectarianism in the Middle East in an Age of Western Hegemony: 1860-2014” The Laura & Ralph Mueller Islamic Studies Lecture Series, Franklin & Marshall College, January 29, 2015.."

 
 

"“The Rise of Sectarianism in the Middle East in an Age of Western Hegemony: 1860-2014,” University of Manitoba, Distinguished Jarislowsky Speakers Series."

 
 

"“Understanding Sectarianism: The History & Future of the Middle East’s Gordian Knot,” Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver, April 30, 2015.."

 
 

"“Writing a History of Sectarianism” New Directions in Middle East and North African Studies Lecture, Northwestern University 

 

 ."

 
 

“Sectarianism in an Age of Western Hegemony, 1856-1948” Bogaziçi University, Istanbul, July 20, 2015.

 

 

 ."

 
 

“De-essentializing Lebanon: Thinking about 1860 and Sectarianism in a Comparative Framework” in Histories et mémoires d’un conflict, IFPO, University of Balamand, Beirut, 5-7 October

 
 

Invited Speaker to present “Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations” Spring 2011 lecture delivered at Alwan (New York City), Columbia University, Invited Speaker, January 2011, University of Oklahoma.  Invited Speaker, March 2011, American University of Beirut.  Invited speaker, March 2011.

 
 

Vanderbilt University, Invited Lecture, September 2011.

 
 

3 lectures on the subject of “The Imperialism of American Missionaries in the 19th Century” at École Pratique des Hautes Études, Section des Sciences Religieuses (Sorbonne), Paris. May 2010

 
 

AMERICAN MISSIONARIES IN THE LEVANT: AGAINST A TOTALIZING HISTORY OF ARAB-AMERICAN RELATIONS, Invited Lecture, Brown University

 
 

"The Artillery of Heaven." History Colloquium, Washington University, St. Louis.

 
 

Speaker.  "Martyrdom, Missionaries, and Narrative." Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany. (June 2002)

 
 

Speaker.  "The Tragedy of As'ad Shidyaq." European History & Culture Colloquium, Dept. of History, UCLA, Los Angeles. (January 2002)

 
 Keynote Speaker
 

Closing Address on “After Orientalism: Rethinking the Study of U.S.-Middle Eastern Relations” delivered at the American University of Beirut, The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin AbdulAziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research Third International Conference on “Connection and Ruptures: America and the Middle East”

 
 

“Born in the Global Nineteenth Century: Sectarianism in the Middle East and its Intersection with Zionism,” Keynote presentation delivered at “The Global Nineteenth Century” Conference, University of California-Riverside, October 2010.

 
 

“Were American Missionaries Imperialist?” [Arabic] Annual Lecture. Makassed Islamic University, Beirut Lebanon, May 2010

 
 Lectures
 

“America’s Interests in a Changing Middle East” Houston World Affairs Council, August 2010

 
 

Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001, Dallas World Affairs Council, Lecture.

 
 

Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001, lecture presented at American Univeristy

 
 

Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001, lecture presetned at Georgetown Univeristy

 
 

The Devolution of American-Arab Relations, lecture presented at Town Hall, Seattle

 
 

Invited speaker for endowed lecture..  "Anti-Americanism in the Arab World." Marting Lecture Series, Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea/Cleveland, OH. (October 2002)

 
 Other
 

""The Tragedy of As?ad Shidyaq" [expanded and precirculated paper] ." Shelby-Cullom Davis Seminar , Princeton University. (March 2001)

 
 

""The Tragedy of Asad Shidyaq" ." United States in the Middle East: Cultural Encounters, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University. (December 2000)

 
 

""Butrus al-Bustani's Nafir Suriyya" ." Department of Near Eastern Studies , Princeton University. (February 2000)

 
 

""Confronting Violence: Narrative, Memory, and the State" ." University of Califonria, Irvine, Irvine, CA. (February 2000)

 
 

""Ending Civil Wars: Fuad Pasha, Butrus al-Bustani and the emergence of sectarianism"." "Third Conference on the Syrian Lands: Bilad al-Sham: Processes of Identities and Ideologies", Erlangen, Germany. (August 2000)

 
 

"After Violence: Reconciliation, Sectarianism, and History." Seminar, Washington University in St. Louis. (December 1999)

 
 

"Ottoman Imperialism? The Beginnings of a Debate." Conference on Provincial Arab Cities of the Ottoman Empire, Orient-Institut Beirut. (April 1999)

 
 

"The Fear of Memory." Building City and National: Space, Memory and History, American University of Beirut. (July 1999)

 
 

"The Name of France." American Historical Association, (January 1999)

 
 

"The Tragedy of As'ad Shidyaq: Missionaries, martyrdom, and Narrative." Missionaries and Identity Formation in the Modern Middle East, The Waston Institute, Brown University. (November, 1999)

 
 

""Corrupting the Sublime Sultanate"." Davis Seminar, Princeton University. (November 20, 1998)

 
 

""Reading the Ruins of Baalbek"." Conference on 19th Century Anglo-American Conceptions of Space, Rice University. (March 1998)

 
 

""Religion and Nationalism"." International Conference on Religion and Violence, Orient-Institut, Beirut Lebanon. (Septemer 11, 1998)

 
 

""The Atrocious Outrages of Wild Tribes?"." Center for Middle Eastern Studies, New York University. (December 9)

 
 

""The Meaning of Sectarianism"." Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UT-Austin. (April, 1998)

 
 

""The Meaning of Violence"." University of Chicago. (December 2)

 
 Panelist
 

Panel participant.  "A Tale of Two Maronites." Conf. on Religion and Society in the Late Ottoman Empire, Ctr. for Modern & Contemp. Studies, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. (April 2002)

 
 Seminar Speaker
 

Northeastern University.  Invited to Participate in Seminar on “America, Islam, and the Middle East,” Dec. 6, 2011

 
 Workshops
 

Reflections on a Coexistence that Once Was and Might One
Day Be Again: A Historical Perspective on Arab-Jewish Relations, Presented at "Encountering the Jewish Future," Center for Jewish Studies, Baylor University

 
 

Conference on "Encountering the Jewish Future," Center for Jewish Studies, Baylor University

 
 

Invited outside speaker to participate in Johns Hopkins University's Department of History Future Seminar.

 
Editorial Positions
 Member of the Editorial Board, Middle East Studies Association. (2012 - 2012)

 Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Palestine Studies. University of California Press. (2011 - 2011)

 Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of Palestine Studies. (2012 - 2012)

Supervised Theses & Dissertations
 Getman David, Ph.D States of Legitimacy: The British Left, Iraqi Nationalism, and the ‘Spirit of Internationalism,’ 1914-1932 . (2011) (Thesis Committee Member)

Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
 Resident Fellow, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2012-2013., Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2012-2013)

 Invited to be a Senior Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg Zu Berlin, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2012-2013)

 Directeur d’études invité, École Pratique des Haute Études, Science Religieuses (Sorbonne), École Pratique des Haute Études (May 2010)

 Carnegie Scholar, Carnegie Foundation (2009-2010)

 The Albert Hourani Book Award, Middle East Studies Association (November 2008)

 Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies (2004-2005)

 Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2004-2005)

 Francis Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, American Council of Learned Societies (2004-2005)

 Fellow, American Research Institute in Turkey (deferred)

 Invited Lecture, "Ending Civil Wars: Fuad Pasha, Butrus al-Bustani and the emergence of sectarianism", (August, 2000)

 Invited Lecture, "Butrus al-Bustani's 'Nafir Suriyya'", Near Eastern Studies Department, Princeton Univ. (February, 2000)

 Invited Lecture, "Confronting Violence: Narrative, Memory, and the State" , History Dept., Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO (December, 1999)