Current Makdisi Photo

Ussama S. Makdisi

Professor of History
Arab-American Educational Foundation Chair of Arab Studies

Email: makdisi@rice.edu Phone: x2561 Office: 307 Humanities

ON LEAVE 2012-2013 - Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Invited Fellow

Education

  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 1997.
  • B.A., Wesleyan University, 1990.

Areas of Interest

  • Ottoman Empire
  • Arab World in the 20th Century
  • Islam and the West

Research and Teaching

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 2009Carnegie 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: The 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.
  

Selected Publications

  • Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820-2001 (Public Affairs, 2010)
  •  Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East (Cornell University Press, 2007)
  •  Memory and Violence in the Middle East and North Africa (Indiana, 2006) co-edited with Peter Silverstein
  • The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Lebanon (Univ. of California, 2000).

 

Makdisi Cover Three  Makdisi Cover Two Makdisi Cover One
Faith Misplaced (2010)  Artillery of Heaven (2007)  The Culture of Sectarianism (2000)

 

Current CV