Febe Armanios has taught at Middlebury College since 2004. She received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Her research interests have focused on the history of Christian communities in the Middle East, particularly on Egypt's Coptic Christians. She is interested in how Christians in the region preserve and maintain their identities in the face of varied challenges and, to this end, she has studied historical and contemporary practices that range from pilgrimage and the veneration of saints to food customs and the use of media. 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. In Fall 2015, she was a Fellow at the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School.
She is currently working on two book projects: one, with Boğaç Ergene, on the historical, legal, and cultural development of halal food and the second on the history of Christian television (terrestrial and satellite) in the Middle East (ca. 1980-present).
Coptic Christianity in Ottoman Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2011; paperback 2015)
Articles & Book Chapters
"Emerging Christian Media in Egypt: Clerical Authority and the Visualization of Women in Coptic Video Films," co-authored with Andrew Amstutz '08, 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.
“From Marginalia: Writing Coptic History for the Ottoman Period,” at “Recovering the Role of Christians in the History of the Middle East,” the Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, May 6-7, 2016.
“Good Evangelicals, Bad Evangelicals? Copts, Revolution, and the Charismatic Movement,” at “The Future of Religious Minorities in the Middle East” Workshop, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, April 9, 2016.
“Evangelicals and Warlords: Christian Television in the Middle East, 1981-2000,” Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, February 10, 2016.
“Télé Lumière: Christian Television in Postwar Lebanon,” the Middle East Studies Association annual meeting, Denver, Colorado, November 23, 2015.
“Copts, Garbage, and Egypt’s 2009 Pig Cull,” at “Pig Out: Hogs and Humans in Global and Historical Context,” Yale University, October 16-18, 2015.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
FYSE1123 - 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, Fall 2016
HIST0108 - 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 MDE SOC
Fall 2016, Fall 2017
HIST0109 - 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 MDE
HIST0262 - 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 MDE SOC
HIST0352 - 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, 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 various dishes 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 MDE SOC
Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Winter 2016, Winter 2017
HIST0438 / GSFS0438 - 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 MDE PHL
Spring 2014, Fall 2017
HIST0439 - 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 MDE
Spring 2013, Spring 2016
HIST0500 - 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.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018
HIST0700 - 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.
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018
IGST0440 / HIST0440 - Islam and Human Rights ▲
Islam and Human Rights
Modern human rights formulations and Islamic legal prescriptions both make universal and, at times, conflicting claims. In this course, we consider various attempts by religious and legal scholars to reconcile such tensions through assessing and reinterpreting Islamic sources with reference to contemporary human rights principles. We explore international human rights charters and declarations as well as Islamic jurisprudential interpretations and legal practices, paying special attention to questions of religious freedom, minority and women’s rights, and gender identity. Readings and student projects emphasize course themes through individual case studies drawn from varied settings. 3 hrs. sem. CMP HIS PHL