During my years as an undergrad at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Florida, I decided that I wanted to become both a writer and a historian. My first home in the world of graduate studies was the History Department at Georgetown University, where I earned a master’s in Middle East history. I wrote dozens of magazine and newspaper articles as I traveled through the Middle East in the years after Georgetown. Then I went to Oxford to get a doctorate. My thesis was supervised by Eugene Rogan, who was director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, my home at Oxford. I was awarded a D.Phil. in 2002, and my thesis won two awards. I have written a number of scholarly journal articles, book chapters and encyclopedia articles dealing with the Middle East. I also taught the Modern Middle East History survey course at George Washington University for three semesters. Future projects will include a book about the history of Kuwait in the years immediately before oil and articles on the camel trade in northern Arabia.


D.Phil., Middle Eastern Studies/Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, 2002.

M.A., Middle East History, Georgetown University, 1982.

B.A., History and Journalism (double major), University of Central Florida, 1980.

Doctoral thesis

“The Transformation of a Pastoral Economy: Bedouin and States in Northern Arabia, 1850-1950,” D.Phil. thesis, University of Oxford, 2000.

Awards and Grants

Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award – Social Sciences, Honorable Mention, November 2001. Middle East Studies Association of North America.

Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize, for the best doctoral thesis of 2000 on a topic in Middle Eastern studies, September 2001. British Society for Middle Eastern Studies.

Dissertation Writing Workshop Grant to attend “States and Societies in the Middle East,” Marrakech, Morocco, July 14-17, 1999. Social Science Research Council.

Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Grant, Syria, 1993-4. United States Information Agency and the Institute for International Education.

Selected Publications and Papers

“Bahrain: The Amiri State System’s Bloody Bulwark Against the Arab Spring,” Chapter 9 in Uzi Rabi, ed., Tribes and States in a Changing Middle East. London: Hurst & Co., 2016.

“Control and Allegiance at the Dawn of the Oil Age: Bedouin, Zakat and Struggles for Sovereignty in Arabia, 1916-1955.” Middle East Critique. March 2012, 21 (1), 57-79.

Last Battles of the Bedouin and the Rise of Modern States in Northern Arabia, 1850-1950,” Chapter 2 in Dawn Chatty, ed. Nomadic Societies in the Middle East and North Africa: Entering the 21st Century. Leiden: Brill, 2006.

“Tribes and Tribulations: Bedouin Losses in the Saudi and Iraqi Struggles over Kuwait’s Frontiers, 1918-1943.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. November 2005, 32 (2), 145-167.

“Taxation and Tribes: Building the Saudi State.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).  Washington, DC, Nov. 2002.

“Conflict and a Pastoral Economy: The Costs of Akhwan Attacks on Tribes in Iraq, 1922-1929.” Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, 11:2, (Fall 2002) 201-227.

“Raiding in Iraq and Transjordan and the Twilight of Bedouin Power, 1920-1939.” MESA Annual Meeting Paper, Washington, DC, Nov. 21, 1999.

“The Camel Trade of Northern Arabia and the Bedouin Economy, 1850-1950.” MESA Annual Meeting paper, San Francisco, CA, Nov. 23, 1997.

“Oil, Land and the Shaping of Abu Dhabi, 1966-1996.” MESA Annual Meeting paper, Providence, RI, Nov. 22, 1996.

“Mauritius,” (Ch. 2), Indian Ocean: Five Island Nations. Helen C. Metz, ed. Washington: Library of Congress, 1995. [This book and others in the Country Studies series can be found on]

“Qatar,” (Ch. 4), Persian Gulf States: Country Studies. Helen C. Metz, ed. Washington: Library of Congress, 1994.

“United Arab Emirates,” (Ch. 5), (with Eric Hooglund), Persian Gulf States: Country Studies. Helen C. Metz, ed. Washington: Library of Congress, 1994.

“Historical Setting,” (Ch. 1), Algeria: A Country Study. Helen C. Metz, ed. Washington: Library of Congress, 1994.

“The Syrian Community in New Castle and its Unique Alawi Component,1900-1940,” The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, 69: 3 (July 1986) 221-239.


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