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467 Pauli Murray Hall
Office Hours: On Leave Spring 2024
Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website


MA University of Kansas, 1980
PhD University of Chicago, 1986

Research Interests

Sarah Shields’s book, Fezzes in the River: Identity Politics and European Diplomacy in the Middle East on the Eve of World War II (Oxford University Press, 2011), is a social and diplomatic history of the contest between France and Turkey over the Sanjak of Alexandretta (1936–1940), an important coastal province. The book explores the development of Turkish nationalism and diplomacy in the early decades of the new republic, and analyzes French policy (and perfidy) as Paris struggled to balance her commitment to the League of Nations, promises to her Damascus protégés, and the need to protect her interests in the eastern Mediterranean as anxiety about war escalated. Her previous book, Mosul before Iraq: Like Bees Making Five-Sided Cells (State University Press of New York, 2000), analyzes the economy and society of nineteenth-century Mosul and the region surrounding it. She is currently researching the long-term impact of the League of Nations on the Middle East.

Some Notable Publications

  • “Flags and Blood: European Jews, Refugee Restrictions, and Rioting in 1929 Palestine,” in Catherine Horel and Bettina Severin-Barboutie, eds., Population Displacements and Multiple Mobilities in the Late Ottoman Empire, Brill, 2023, 124-143.
  • “The Mosul Question: Lausanne and After,” in Jonathan Conlin and Ozan Ozavci, eds., They All Made Peace—What is Peace?: The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the New Imperial Order, Ginko Library, 2023, 209-230.
  • “The Vatican and the 1929 Riots in Palestine,” Archivum Ottomanicum 38 (2021), 193-210.
  • “The League of Nations and the Transformation of Representation: Sectarianism, Consociationalism, and the Middle East," in Simon Jackson and Alanna O’Malley, ed. The Institution of International Order: From the League of Nations to the United Nations . Routledge, 2018.
  • "Manufacturing Collective Identities: Contesting Territories in the Interwar Middle East: Antioch," in Fatma Müge Göçek, ed. Contested Spaces in Contemporary Turkey: Politics of the Urban, Secular, Legal and Environmental (IB. Tauris, 2017).
  • "Teaching the Introductory Middle East History Survey Course," Review of Middle East Studies 51 (2017), 35-39.
  • "Forced Migration as Nation-Building: The League of Nations, Minority Protection, and the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange," Journal of the History of International Law 18 (2016), 120-145.
  • "The Greek-Turkish Population Exchange: Internationally Administered Ethnic Cleansing," Middle East Report 279 (2013).
  • Fezzes in the River: Identity Politics and European Diplomacy in the Middle East on the Eve of World War II (Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • Graduate Students

    Courses Taught (as schedule allows)

    For current information about course offerings, click here.

    • HIST 62—First Year Seminar: Nations, Borders, and Identities
    • HIST 138—Introduction to Islamic Civilization
    • HIST 139—Later Islamic Civilization
    • HIST 176H—A Century of Protest in the Middle East
    • HIST 273-Water in the Middle East
    • HIST 275—History of Iraq
    • HIST 276—The Modern Middle East
    • HIST 277—The Conflict Over Israel/Palestine
    • HIST 536—Revolution in the Modern Middle East
    • HIST 537—Women in the Middle East
    • HIST 538—The Middle East and the West