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: WIN & SPR 2015: by appointment only

I am a historian of the modern Middle East. I am also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization and an affiliate of the Jackson School's Middle East Center. 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 the nineteenth century (HSTAFM 163, typically in Autumn Quarter). As a postdoctoral fellow and graduate-student instructor prior to joining the UW faculty, 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 American Historical Association and the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. I have published articles in the Journal of Urban History and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. I am on the board of the American Academic Research Institute in Iraq.

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


Courses offered:

HSTAFM 163, Modern Middle East

HSTRY 388, Identity and Politics in the Modern Middle East: Nation, Religion, Conflict (Introduction to History)

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

HSTAFM (number TBD in 2015-16), Modern Persian Gulf

HSTAFM 563, Modern Near East