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Febe Armanios

Professor of History and Co-Director of the Axinn Center for the Humanities

Middle East History

 work(802) 443-5212
 By appointment only.
 Axinn Center 340

Febe Armanios received her BA, MA, and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. Her research interests have focused on the history of Christian communities in the Middle East, particularly on Egypt's Coptic Christians, on Muslim-Christian relations, as well as food history and media studies. She has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Luce Foundation-ACLS, and Fordham University, among others. In 2015, she was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School (ILSP), and in recent years, she's served as an Editorial Board member for the International Journal of Middle East Studies, as well as on the Steering Committee for the Middle Eastern Christianity Unit at the American Academy of Religion.

For the 2021-22 academic year, she will be the Bennett Boskey Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at Williams College. She will also co-Direct Middlebury's Axinn Center for the Humanities (remote).

Currently, she's completing a book-length project on the history of Christian television (terrestrial and satellite) in the Middle East (ca. 1981-present) and has also begun research for another book project, which looks at the comparative history of Christian food practices in the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Europe.

Selected Publications:

Halal Food: A History, co-authored with Boğaç Ergene (Oxford University Press, 2018; paperback 2020) -Winner of the Best Book Award 2019 by the Association for the Study of Food and Society

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

"Coptic Perceptions of Time in Ottoman Egypt," in Alessandro Bausi, Alberto Camplani, and Stephen Emmel, eds. Time and History in Africa (Milan: Biblioteca Ambrosiana, 2019), 67-78.

"A Christian Public Space in Egypt: Historical and Contemporary Reflections," in Katsumi Fukasawa, Benjamin J. Kaplan, Pierre-Yves Beaurepaire, eds. Religious Interactions in Europe and the Mediterranean World Coexistence and Dialogue from the 12th to the 20th Centuries (London: Routledge, 2017), 317-330.

"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.

Recent Papers and Invited Presentations:

“Who are Copts? Reflections from the Past and Present,” at "The Coptic Christian Tradition Workshop," Baylor University, February 6, 2019.

"On Coptic Food Customs in Ottoman Egypt,” at “Christians and Jews in Ottoman Society,” University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, July 3-5, 2017.

“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.

“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.



Course List: 

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

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. 2 hrs lect./1 hr. disc. AAL HIS MDE SOC

Fall 2019

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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 MDE

Fall 2018

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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 MDE SOC

Spring 2019, Fall 2019

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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 MDE SOC

Spring 2018

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HIST 0339 / RELI 0339 - Christians in Modern MidEast      

Christians in the Modern Middle East
In the Middle East, Christians have faced fast-paced political, economic, and religious transformations. Focusing on indigenous communities such as Copts, Greek Orthodox, Armenians, Assyrians, and Maronites, we will explore Christianity’s place in the region, from the nineteenth century up to the present. Against the backdrop of a waning Ottoman Empire, mounting European colonialism, and the rise of nationalism and Islamism, we will investigate Christians’ status as minorities, who have at times been privileged and at other times been marginalized, exiled, and shunned. We will also pay attention to the ways in which Western governments and Christian missionaries have transformed the lives of Middle Eastern Christians in their quest for evangelism, apocalypticism, and regional domination. Class sources will include memoirs, novels, and films. 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL HIS MDE SOC

Spring 2019

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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, 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.(Counts for HSMT credit) 3 hrs. lect./disc. AAL CMP HIS MDE SOC

Spring 2018, Winter 2020

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HIST 0500 - Special Research Projects      

Special research projects may only be taken during the Junior or Senior year, preferable after taking HIST 0600. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.

Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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HIST 0600 - History Research Seminar      

Writing History
In this course students discuss historical methods and writing strategies to create convincing historical narratives. With the approval and guidance of the professor, students complete a 20-25-page research paper based on primary and secondary sources. Students take this course in the fall of their junior year or with permission in the spring. If students are away for the entire junior year, they can take the course in the fall of their senior year. 3 hr. sem.

Fall 2018

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HIST 0700 - Senior Independent Study I      

Senior Independent Study I
The optional History Senior Thesis is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. Approval is required. Students submit thesis proposals in the spring before the year that they choose to write their thesis. Students generally begin their thesis in the fall and complete it during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring. All students must attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops in fall and winter semesters and work with a faculty advisor to complete a 55-70 page paper. Please see detailed guidelines under history requirements.

Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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HIST 0701 - Senior Independent Study II      

Senior Independent Study II
With departmental approval, senior history majors may write a two-term thesis under an advisor in the area of their choosing. The final grade is applied to both terms. Students must submit thesis proposals in the spring before the academic year that they choose to write their thesis. They must attend the Thesis Writers' Workshops held in the fall and winter of the academic year in which they begin the thesis. The department encourages students to write theses during the fall (0700) and winter terms (0701), but with the permission of the chair, fall/spring and winter/spring theses are also acceptable. Under exceptional circumstances, the department may approve a thesis initiated in the spring of an academic year and finished in the fall of the following year. Further information about the thesis is available from the department.

Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Department of History

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


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