For me, nothing is more exciting than traipsing through a city searching for signs of the past. I might search for hours for an Ottoman mosque turned into a movie theatre. Or a colonial mausoleum concealed on the grounds of the old French Residence. Or that tree where the King of Morocco stood when he returned from exile and addressed his subjects. I might wander along empty canals looking for grinding stones once used in obsolete water mills.
I seek to connect major historical events with the everyday life of ordinary people. I have written about nineteenth-century border skirmishes between the Ottoman and Persian Empires, the origins of present-day tensions between Sunnis and Shi’ah in Iraq. I examined why drought in Mauritania led to the overthrow of President Taya in 2005. I evaluated how Harlequin authors bring to life a fictive Arab world in their desert romances. And I traced Greece’s physical erasure of of 450 years of Ottoman rule in Thessaloniki.
I am an Associate Professor at Purdue University with a Ph.D. in history from Boston University. As listed in my CV, numerous grants and fellowships have supported my research in the US, Europe and North Africa. I have received two Fulbright Grants, the Carter Manny Award and Purdue University’s Enhancing Research in Arts and Humanities Grant. I authored The Politics of Food in Modern Morocco (University Press of Florida, 2009) and A Documentary History of Modern Iraq (University Press of Florida, 2012).