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: T 3:30-5:00 (Spring 2014)

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 taught in 2013-2014:

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

Winter: HIST 163, The Modern Middle East

Spring: HIST 590, Topics in History (Urban Histories of the Modern Middle East)