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M'hamed Oualdi

  • History
  • Near Eastern Studies
Position: Core Faculty
Title: Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies and History.
  • Post-1500 Islamic North Africa
  • Slavery in Ottoman Tunisia
  • Social, cultural, and intellectual history of the modern Middle East
Office: 116 Jones Hall
Phone: 609-258-8521

M’hamed Oualdi is an assistant professor specializing in the social and political history of Post-1500 North Africa. His research interests include the social effects of the imperial transitions and the state reforms in the 19th century. He is jointly appointed in the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and History.
Based on Arabic and European historical sources, his first book, Esclaves et maîtres. Les mamelouks au service des beys de Tunis du XVIIe siècle aux années 1880 (Publications de la Sorbonne, 2011) is a study of the mamluks who served the governors of the Ottoman province of Tunis from the 1630s until the 1880s. Coming from various social and cultural backgrounds, the mamluks formed a really flexible political and social category that helped their masters, the Tunisian governors, to interact with men from different social groups (from urban notables to peasants). With the enforcement of the Ottoman reforms (tanzîmât) in the second half of the 19th century, they contributed to the depersonalization of the administrative service.
Prior to joining the faculty at Princeton, M. Oualdi was assistant professor of North African history at the French Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations ( Inalco-Paris, 2010-2013). He held a postdoctoral fellowship at European University Institute-Florence (2008-2009).
He received his training in Arabic at INALCO and pursued an education in history at the University of Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne from which he obtained his PhD in 2008.
Current Research Project:
The economic and social transformations from the Ottoman to the French colonial empire at the end of the 19th century in Tunisia through a case study that involved conflicts arising from the inheritance of General Husayn, a manumitted Circassian slave and former minister in Tunisia who died in Florence in 1887.
Selected publications:
“General Husayn and his Legacy: Slavery, Manumission and Nationality in Imperial Contexts (first approaches of new research project),”  EUI Working Papers. Max Weber Programme (2010): 1–12.
“D’Europe et d’Orient, les approches de l’esclavage des chrétiens en terres d’Islam,” Annales. Histoires et sciences sociales 4(August 2008): 829–43.
Selected professional activities:
L’année du Maghreb (, member of the scientific board.
Revue d’histoire du XIXe siècle, (, member of the editorial board.