Arbella Bet-Shlimon

  • Assistant Professor

Ph.D. Harvard University, 2012

Fields: Middle East, Comparative Colonialisms, Urban History
Phone: 206-616-5279
Office: SMI 204A | Office Hours: AUT 2014: Tuesdays, 3:00-5:00

I am a historian of the modern Middle East. In my research and teaching, I focus on the politics, society and economy of twentieth-century Iraq and the broader Persian Gulf region, as well as Middle Eastern urban history. In addition to specialized courses on these topics, I offer general introductory courses on the modern Middle East, including a survey of the Middle East since 1800 and a seminar on primary sources in Middle Eastern identity and politics designed for history majors. In my previous positions at Harvard University as a graduate-student instructor and, subsequently, a postdoctoral fellow, I received two certificates of distinction in teaching in 2011 and 2012.

I am currently preparing my first book for publication—a history of the city of Kirkuk, a multilingual borderland and the original hub of Iraq’s oil industry, since 1918. This project is influenced by studies of urbanism, oil modernity, nation building, and identity formation. I argue that in twentieth-century Kirkuk, the presence of the Iraqi oil industry, Baghdad’s policies of state integration, and British neoimperialism interacted with local conditions to produce the crystallization of ethnic group identities within a growing domain of local politics.

My research has been funded by the Institute of Historical Research, University of London; the American Academic Research Institute in Iraq; and the American Historical Association. I have published articles in the Journal of Urban History and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Up-to-date information on my research and publications, as well as links to my work, may be found on my profile.


Courses on the history of the modern Middle East in 2014-2015:


HSTAFM 163, The Modern Middle East

HSTRY 494, Cities in the Modern Middle East (Historiography Seminar)