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N. A. Mansour

  • Near Eastern Studies
Position: Graduate Student
Title: 3rd-year Ph.D. student
Office: Jones Hall

I study the intellectual history of the Arabic-speaking world in the 19th and 20th centuries. I also did my bachelor's degree at Princeton University and during my time as an undergraduate, I focused mostly on Islamic studies: my undergraduate thesis was on Palestinian Islamic institutions and their role in promoting Palestinian nationalism. I then did a year at the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA) based at Qasid in Amman, Jordan, where I studied, amongst other things, Quranic exegesis and Islamic law. However, during my short time as a doctoral student, I fell under the spell of social, cultural, and conceptual history; I have moved on from the study of Islam to the broader study of the Arabic-speaking world. If you were to ask me today at a dinner party, what I study, I would say I’m working on print culture in the Arabic-speaking world, the history of the book, literacy, and global networks of ideas. I also dabble in Ottoman history and to a much lesser extent, East African studies.


My pursuit of graduate studies is mostly inspired by my desire to share my love of the Arabic-speaking world with the broader public: when not writing or reading histories of the Ottoman and Arabic-speaking worlds, I spend a lot of time with my friends arguing about how to involve ourselves in public history and digital humanities projects.  To that end, I published a short piece on Arabic magazines on the Haaretz Social History Workshop blog in the fall of 2016, and in my spare time I conduct interviews for the Middle Eastern Studies channel on the New Books Network. I’ve also helped develop parts of the curriculum for Professor Cyrus Schayegh’s NES 201: Introduction to the Middle East.