I work on the cultural, social, and intellectual history of the modern Arab Middle East, mainly Iraq. The thread that runs through my work is an interest in how imaginaries and experiences of time, space, and selfhood were reordered in the region during the 20th century, especially at the dawn of the global “age of development” around World War II. I have explored questions related to economic development and modernization theory, histories of psychology and pedagogy, gender and sexuality, childhood and youth, revolution and decolonization, Islamic and secular family law, land settlement projects, and the transition from British to American empire. My first book, Familiar Futures: Time, Selfhood, and Sovereignty in Iraq, 1920-63 (Stanford University Press, in contract), looks at how various understandings of time and selfhood, both secular and Islamic, shaped pedagogical interventions into the intimate lives of Iraqis in the name of economic development and/or anticolonial revolution. My planned second book explores the social and ecological effects of postwar land settlement projects in Iraq, Syria, and Jordan that relocated peasants and pastoral nomads onto isolated nuclear-family farms in accordance with US Cold War modernization theories of agrarian reform and political stability.
Before coming to NYU in 2016, I taught courses on the modern Middle East for seven years at Princeton University, the CUNY Graduate Center, and Queens College. My courses have included “Youth and Youth Movements in the Modern Middle East”; “Gender, Sexuality, and Modernity in the Middle East”; “Cultures of Imperialism: Britain, the US, and the Middle East” (co-taught); and “Comparative Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa.”
I also served as associate editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies from 2009-2014.