Graduate Fields of Study - Middle East

The Program and its Scope

The Ph.D. program in Middle Eastern Histories at the University of Arizona has an innovative focus; unlike traditional specialist programs, it aims to set the history of the Middle Eastern region in a world-historical perspective. This unique course of study at the doctoral level will train Ph.D. students in the multiple histories of the peoples, cultures, and societies found in the regions between the Maghrib and South Asia from the early modern period to the present. The program emphasizes Middle Eastern Histories from a world-historical perspective.

The doctoral major in Middle Eastern Histories is designed to provide students with backgrounds in history, Middle East Studies, Islam, and related fields the opportunity to examine Muslim societies in a global context, thus gaining a breadth of knowledge and an awareness of the interrelatedness of societies absent from the traditional academic training. We want to rethink the historical narrative paradigms conventionally used to talk about Middle Eastern societies by exploring major problems in world history, such as migrations, imperialism, state formation, or gender as these relate to the histories of Middle Eastern societies. At the same time, the program will integrate the histories of those regions of the globe where Islamic societies predominate into the historical narratives of adjacent or interacting societies and cultures. Because of their situation astride a geocultural international "crosswalk" and their historical position vis-à-vis Europe, the societies of the Middle East, North Africa, and India offer a particularly rich terrain for exploring these issues. Moreover, recent studies of the ratio of jobs to graduate students reveal no oversupply of candidates in these fields; indeed, recently academic positions have gone unfilled in these fields.


The program requires 36 units of coursework beyond the BA in Middle East and comparative courses (including courses from the MA degree), one required historiographical colloquium, and up to 18 units of thesis credit. Also required are two second languages and a related minor field (for complete details see graduate program).

Resources and Funding Opportunities:

Opportunities to serve as graduate teaching assistants in both the history and Near Eastern Studies Departments provide experience for teaching as well as financial support. The University library is especially rich in holdings with an excellent collection in Arabic and Hebrew; currently the library is actively building its Persian and Turkish collections. The Middle East Center offers FLAS fellowships for graduate students studying any of the four Middle Eastern languages available at the University: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish. To apply for these fellowships, go to the webpage for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies ( and click on Student Resources. The University's federally-funded Center for Middle Eastern Studies, coordinating the work of nearly 70 faculty all over the university, is rated among the top five such programs nationally. The Middle East Studies Association, the field's national organization, is also headquartered on campus.



Faculty in the field cover the region from Northwest Africa through South Asia in the early modern and modern periods, with research capability in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish (Ottoman/modern) and shared interests in social history, religion and politics, and gender and global issues. They include:

Richard Eaton (Ph.D., History, Wisconsin), specializing in India, the Persian-speaking world, Sufism and Islamization, and Asia and the West. Major publications include Sufis of Bijapur, 1300-1700: Social Roles of Sufis in Medieval India; and The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760.

Julia Clancy-Smith (Ph.D., History, UCLA), specializing in North Africa and Middle East, the Mediterranean world, French colonial history, women and gender in Islam. Major publications include Rebel and Saint: Muslim Notables, Populist Protest, Colonial Encounters (Algeria and Tunisia, 1800-1904); (co-edited) Domesticating the Empire: Race, Gender, and Family Life in French and Dutch Colonialism.

Linda Darling (Ph.D., History, Chicago), specializing in the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Arab provinces, state formation and governmentality, and socioeconomic history. Major publications include Revenue-Raising and Legitimacy: Tax Collection and Finance Administration in the Ottoman Empire, 1560-1660; and A History of Social Justice and Political Power in the Middle East: The Circle of Justice from Mesopotamia to Globalization.

Cooperating faculty in other departments include:

Thomas (Tad) Park (Ph.D., Anthropology and History, Wisconsin), Department of Anthropology, author of Risk and Tenure in Arid lands: The Political Ecology of Development in the Senegal River Basin, and A Historical Dictionary of Morocco, with specialties in agrarian and cultural anthropology

Leila Hudson (Ph.D., History and Anthropology, Michigan), Near Eastern Studies, with specialties in nineteenth-century Syria and Islamic thought

Amy Newhall (Ph.D., Art History, Harvard), Near Eastern Studies, former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, who specializes in art history, medieval Egypt, and the Mediterranean 

For more information, please visit the following websites:

The School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies

The Center for Middle East Studies



Dissertations in Progress

Secil Uluisik
Samantha Goodrich
Alex Schweig
Ana Ghoreishian
Lucia Carminati
Ali Atabey


Recently Completed Dissertations and Recent Ph.D. Placements


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Us

Department of History
César E. Chávez Bldg.
Main Office, Room 415 
1110 James E. Rogers Way
Tucson, AZ 85721

Tel: (520) 621-1586
Fax: (520) 621-2422