I studied at the Universities of Saskatchewan, Toronto, Jordan, and Oxford before taking my doctorate at Princeton. My current research examines categories used to describe Middle Eastern societies.
I am working on a book about the emergence of nationality as a social and legal category in Alexandria (Egypt) between 1880 and 1914. My aim is to understand how and when ordinary people began to identify themselves as Egyptians, Ottomans, foreigners, and the like. This research is based on documents produced by the city's police and its European consular courts. I also study Western conversion to Islam between 1850 and 1950, aiming to understand what kinds of Islam the converts discovered (and made) for themselves. I teach courses on Egypt, the Middle East, and imperialism.
- I am developing a digital humanities tool called Prosop, for which I received an NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant.
- I am an administrator of the American Historical Association's ArchivesWiki.
- “When did Egyptians stop being Ottomans? An Imperial Citizenship Case Study,” in Willem Maas, ed. Multilevel Citizenship (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), 89-109.
- “Cosmopolitan Cursing in Late Nineteenth Century Alexandria,” in Derryl MacLean and Sikeena Karmali Ahmed, eds., Cosmopolitanisms in Muslim Contexts: Perspectives from the Past, “Exploring Muslim Contexts” series (Edinburgh University Press, 2012), 92-104.
- "Grieving Cosmopolitanism in Middle East Studies," History Compass 6/5 (2008): 1346-1367. Also available (with subscription) here and here.
- "Tajawwuz al-dawlah: madrasah jadidah fi kitabat al-tarikh al-amriki" ("Transnationalism: a new approach to America's history"),Thaqafat al-Nukhbah wa Thaqafat al-'Ammah fi Misr fi al-'Asr al-'Uthmani, ed. Nasir Ahmad Ibrahim (Cairo: al-Jama'iyah al-Misriyah lil-Dirasat al-Tarikhiyah, 2008), 341-7.
- "Ta'rif al-ajanib fi al-iskandariyah fi al-qarn al-tasi' 'ashar" ("Identifying foreigners in late nineteenth century Alexandria"), transl. Khaled Fahmy. Amkenah 7 (2005): 111-20.
- I am associate editor (book reviews, non-Americas) of the Law and History Review.
- I was previously a fellow of the Rechtskulturen program (2012-13) and the Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History (2011).
In spring 2014, I am teaching a seminar on Islamic Law and Society with Adam Gaiser (Religion).
Past semesters: Schedule and Readings