I study the postcolonial origins of our collective present in world affairs. My current research project, “The Venture of Africa: Organisations of Unity and Disunity in a Continental Diplomacy”, explores the contested institutionalisation of ideological geographies in greater Africa and the Arab world. It examines the varying fortunes of anticolonial mobilising themes such as pan-Africanism, pan-Arabism, and pan-Islamism once they are institutionalised in the postcolonial era. In so doing, this project highlights the centrality of religious and racial dynamics to contemporary international life, especially with regards to such issues as human rights, conflict resolution, and peacekeeping.
My first book, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order (Oxford University Press, 2016), showed how South-South exchanges of methodologies of revolution built our state-centric world order. The American Historical Association awarded it the Bentley Prize for the year’s outstanding work in global or world-scale history, and it also received honorable mention for both the African Studies Association's Herskovits Prize and the American Institute of Maghrib Studies' Brown Prize for the year’s best book concerning those regions. I discuss the book and the research behind it in this interview for the Toynbee Prize Foundation.
Other recent publications include an essay for the debut issue of the new Rivista Italiana di Storia Internazionale, “Reflecting on the Global Turn in International History, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being a Historian of Nowhere”, and “Revolutionary Transatlanticism: Cuban-Algerian relations and the multiplicity of Third World globalism” in The Third World Revolution: The Global South in the Era of Secular Radicalism, edited by Mark A. Lawrence and R. Joseph Parrott (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press). My scholarship has elsewhere been published in numerous collected volumes and academic journals, such as The International History Review, The International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Diplomatic History. I have also discussed contemporary affairs and my own scholarship with various national and international news organisations, including BBC World, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and France Inter, among others.
I joined the history department at UBC as assistant professor in 2009. I received a BA in History from Yale University in 1999 and a PhD in History from the London School of Economics in 2011. I held the position of Chauncey Fellow in International Security Studies at Yale University in 2011-2012.
For more information, download my CV [updated Oct 2018] or access some of my writing on my Academia.edu profile.
In 2018W, the topic for HIST 402G, 201 will be Post-colonial international history. This course explores the history of international relations in the postcolonial world, or the Third World, following the end of European empires in the mid twentieth century. Topics include the Bandung Asian-African movement, the non-Aligned movement, Pan-Africanism, Pan-Arabism, economic development and global economic relations, national liberation movements, border contestations, and the role of the UN.
This course examines the history of revolutionary movements and Islamic revolutions and insurgencies in the “Third World” (such as Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Palestine, Vietnam). Topics include the causes of revolution, revolutionary strategy, political violence, anti-colonial nationalism, the diplomacy of insurgencies, the influence of Marxism in the developing world, and Islamic revolutions and insurgencies.
International relations in the Middle East in the aftermath of the Ottoman Empire, with special attention to the conflicts between Jews of Palestine/Israel and their Arab neighbours.
At the graduate and undergraduate level, my teaching concerns global/international history in colonial and postcolonial contexts, especially in Africa and the Middle East. Generally, I encourage students not to be bound by regionalism, while also recognising the valuable methodological and interpretive insights that area studies scholarship offers to global/international historians. I'm particularly interested in supervising graduate students pursuing international histories of the Global South.
B.A. Yale University 1999
Ph.D. London School of Economics and Political Science, 2011
Assistant Professor, Department of History, UBC, 2009 to date
Brady-Johnson Postdoctoral Associate, International Security Studies at Yale University, 2011-2012