Associate Professor of History
Phone: ext. 2313
- PhD, NYU, 2010 (Middle Eastern Studies and History)
- MA, University of Arizona, 2003 (Near Eastern Studies)
- MA, Central Michigan University, 2001 (English Language and Literature)
- BA, Hope College, 1999 (English and Philosophy, minor in Religion)
My interest in the Middle East began in high school when I spent a month living in a Palestinian village in Israel. Since that time I have returned to Israel/Palestine three times, including living in Jerusalem for nearly a year while I conducted dissertation research. I have also spent time in Syria.
I have many other interests besides teaching and researching. My wife, Michelle, and I have three children (ages 12, 10, and 7 as of summer 2016), and we keep busy with soccer, baseball, riding, and many other activities with them. In addition, I love to fly fish, hike, play banjo, bake bread, and raise chickens and bees, among other hobbies.
My first book, Arab Christians in British Mandate Palestine, focuses on the relationship between Palestinian Christians and the nationalist movement during a time of dramatic change in the political and social make-up of Palestine. This focus is representative of my broader interest in the interplay between religion and politics, something I will explore in a forthcoming book chapter about minorities and Arab nationalism in the early 20th century. I am particularly concerned with the way minority groups identify and re-identify themselves as the political and social circumstances change.
I have now shifted gears and having begun research on an environmental history of the Persian/Arabian Gulf. My goal is to highlight the lives of non-elite Gulf dwellers who are often overlooked in the historical narrative by focusing on the ways they used the limited Gulf resources to establish and maintain communities along the coast. I have submitted an article titled “Fishing in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: The Merits of Mediocrity” and am preparing a presentation about piracy. Other chapters will examine oil, water, pearls, and other ways in which local communities interacted with the Gulf and its environs.
“Rejecting Sectarianism: Palestinian Christians’ Role in Muslim-Christian Relations,” Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations, Vol. 26:1, 2015.
Arab Christians in British Mandate Palestine: Communalism and Nationalism, 1917-1948 (Edinburgh University Press, 2013).
Book Review: “Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948–1967, by Hillel Cohen,” Journal of World History, 23:4, December 2012.
Book Review: “A Christian View of Islam: Essays on Dialogue, by Thomas F. Michel,” Theological Book Review, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2012, pp. 88-89.
Book Review: “Occupied by Memory: The Intifada Generation and the Palestinian State of Emergency, by John Collins,” Arab Studies Journal, Vol. XIII no. 2/XIV no. 1, Fall 2005/Spring 2006.
Book Review: The Nation and its New Women: The Palestinian Women’s Movement, 1920-1948, by Ellen Fleishmann,” Arab Studies Journal, Vol. XII, no. 2, Fall 2004.