Febe Armanios

Associate Professor of History

Middle East History

 On leave fall 2015
 Axinn Center at Starr Library 340

Febe Armanios has taught at Middlebury College since 2004. She received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. She teaches courses that span from the seventh-century rise of Islam to the present-day Middle East. Her research interests include Christian religious identity, particularly in Egypt; comparative religious practices (from pilgrimage and the veneration of saints to food customs); and women and gender in the Middle East. She has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. Her current book project explores the history of Christian satellite television in the Middle East (ca. 1980-present).

Selected Publications:


Coptic Christianity in Ottoman Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2011; paperback 2015)

Satellite Ministries: The Rise of Christian Television in the Middle East (in progress).

Articles & Book Chapters

"Emerging Christian Media in Egypt: Clerical Authority and the Visualization of Women in Coptic Video Films," co-authored with Andrew Amstutz, the International Journal of Middle East Studies 45 (2013): 513-533.

"Coptic Faith and Practice in Egyptian Contexts," in Elizabeth W. Fernea, Farhad Daftary, and Azim Nanji, eds. Living in Historic Cairo: Past and Present in an Islamic City (London and Seattle: The Institute of Ismaili Studies and the University of Washington Press, 2010): 86-92.

"Patriarchs, Archons and the Eighteenth-Century Resurgence of the Coptic Community," in William Lyster, ed. The Cave Church at the Monastery of St. Paul the First Hermit at the Monastery of St. Paul, Egypt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 61-73.

"A Christian Martyr under Mamluk Justice: The Trials of Salib (d. 1512) according to Muslim and Coptic Sources," co-authored with Boğaç Ergene, Muslim World 96, no. 1 (2006): 115-144.

"'The Virtuous Woman': Images of Gender in Modern Coptic Society," Middle Eastern Studies 38, no. 1 (2002): 110-130.

Recent Presentations:

“Performing ‘Coptic-ness’ in Egypt: Analysis from the Past and Reflections on the Present,” at “Common Ground? Jews, Christians and Muslims in the Middle East,” at Leiden University, Netherlands, September 26-27, 2013.

“The Coptic Charismatic Renewal in Egypt: Historical Roots and Recent Developments,” the International Association of Coptic Studies quadrennial Congress, Rome, Italy, September 15-22, 2012.

“Women, Gender, and Authority in Coptic Christian Video Films,” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies Distinguished Lecture and Research Workshop, Yale University, New Haven, CT, May 3, 2012.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FYSE 1123 - Encounters with Middle East      

Close Encounters with the Middle East
In the west, few other cultures have evoked such strong emotions or have been so widely misunderstood as the cultures of the Middle East. In this seminar, we will explore alternative understandings of the region by examining various types of historical and contemporary narratives. Rather than focus exclusively on political events and trajectories, we will investigate social and cultural experiences of peoples in the Middle East which have emerged through the intersection of history, identity, modernity, gender relations, and popular expression. This approach allows students to become familiar with the region’s inhabitants and cultures, and to think beyond the static images commonly portrayed in today’s media. In this seminar we will draw on various sources including film, media, literature, music, among others, and will interpret their ongoing significance in today’s world. 3 hrs. sem. AAL CW HIS

Fall 2013

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HIST 0108 - Early Islam and Middle East      

The Early History of Islam and the Middle East
This course is an introduction to the history of Islamic civilizations from the advent of Islam around 610 C.E. to the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The principal geographic areas covered are the Middle East and North Africa. Since "Islam" encompasses not simply a religion but an entire cultural complex, this course will trace the development of religious, political, economic, and social institutions in this region. Topics covered include the early Islamic conquests, the rise of religious sectarianism, gender relations, and the expansion of Islamic empires. Pre-1800. 3 hrs lect./disc. AAL HIS SOC

Fall 2012

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HIST 0109 - Islam & Mid. East Since 1453      

History of Islam and the Middle East, Since 1453
This course is an introduction to the major institutions that evolved under the aegis of what we might call Islamic civilization since the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The principal geographic areas covered are the Middle East and North Africa. Major topics include the rise of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, Western intervention and colonialism, nationalism and state formation, and the challenges of and responses to modernization. Pre-1800. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. AAL HIS

Fall 2011, Fall 2013

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HIST 0262 - History of Modern Middle East      

History of the Modern Middle East
This course investigates the history of social and political change in the Middle East from 1798 to the present. Within a general political framework, the course will cover the main social, economic, and intellectual currents. Emphasizing political, economic, social and cultural history, the course seeks to examine the impact of outside powers on the region, the responses of the region's peoples to this challenge, colonization, nationalism and identity, religious and ideological trends, gender issues, major "crises" (including the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Lebanese civil war, and the Iranian Revolution), and efforts to reassert Islamic identity in an era of globalization. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL HIS SOC

Fall 2012, Spring 2016

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HIST 0266 - Egypt Iran & Turkey: Mdrn Hist      

Egypt, Iran, and Turkey: Alternative Modernizations
The Middle East's struggles with modernization are encapsulated in the history of its three most populous nation-states: Egypt, Iran, and Turkey. The rise of nationalism, European incursions in the Middle East, and internal strife contributed to the gradual fall of the Ottoman and Qajar Empires in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From the rubble emerged distinct social, political, economic, and religious responses to modernization, ranging from the establishment of a secular, ultra-nationalist state in Turkey, Arab nationalism in Egypt, monarchism and Islamism in Iran. We will explore and compare these three experiences using an array of sources including primary documents, works of fiction, and film. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL CMP HIS SOC

Spring 2012

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HIST 0352 - Food History in Middle East      

Food in the Middle East: History, Culture, and Identity
In this course we will examine the rich culinary history of the Middle East from the time of major Islamic Empires, such as the Abbasids and Ottomans, until the modern period. Using an array of primary and secondary sources, including cookbooks and memoirs, we will explore the social, religious, literary, and economic place of food in the region. We will study the consumption of and attitudes toward specific foodstuffs, gauging the relevance of items like spices and coffee in the pre-modern period and of dishes like baklava within modern nationalist constructions. We will also investigate how Middle Eastern peoples from different ethnic, geographic, and religious backgrounds have historically used food to express their distinct cultural, national, and gendered identities. 3 hrs. lect./disc.AAL, CMP, HIS, SOC (F. Armanios) AAL CMP HIS SOC

Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Winter 2016

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HIST 0438 / GSFS 0438 / WAGS 0438 - Women and Islam      

Readings in Middle Eastern History: Women and Islam
In this course we will examine women's lives in Islamic societies from the seventh century to the contemporary period, focusing on the Middle East and North Africa. Readings will explore a variety of topics including the changing role of women from pre-Islamic to Islamic societies; women in the Qur’an and in Islamic law gender roles in relation to colonialism, nationalism, an Islamism; the experience of women in Sunni and Shi’a contexts; and Western images of Muslim women. (formerly HIST 0416) 3 hrs. sem. AAL HIS PHL

Spring 2012, Spring 2014

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HIST 0439 - Ottomans in MidEast & Balkans      

Readings on Ottoman History in the Middle East and the Balkans
The Ottoman Empire arose from the rubble of waning Islamic and Byzantine empires and became the longest lasting Islamic empire in history. In this seminar we will explore the rise of the empire, from its nascence as an unknown tribe in thirteenth-century western Anatolia to its formidable dominance of the Mediterranean and European worlds in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and on to its responses to European ascendancy on the eve of modernity. Selected readings will help us explore its origins, its political, social, and cultural structures, as well as its multi-ethnic and multi-cultural identity, with particular attention to its influence on the Balkans and the Arab Middle East during the early modern period. 3 hrs. sem. AAL HIS

Spring 2013, Spring 2016

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HIST 0500 - Special Research Projects      

Special research projects during the junior year may be used to fulfill the research seminar requirements in some cases. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016

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HIST 0700 - Senior Independent Study      

The History Senior Thesis is required of all majors. It is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. The project is generally begun in the fall and completed during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring, and such students must still attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops that take place in fall and winter.

Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Spring 2016

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INTL 0706 - MES Senior Thesis      

African Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2012

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Department of History

Axinn Center at Starr Library
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753