Orit Bashkin

Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Pick Hall 223


2005, Ph.D. Department of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University

Teaching at Chicago since 2004

I am a historian who works on the intellectual, social and cultural history of the modern Middle East. I got my Ph.D. from Princeton University (2004), writing a thesis on Iraqi intellectual history under the supervision of Professors Robert Tignor and Samah Selim, and my BA (1995) and MA (1999) from Tel Aviv University. Since my graduation, I have been working as a professor of modern Middle Eastern history in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. My publications deal with Iraqi history, the history of Iraqi Jews, the Arab cultural revival movement (the nahda) in the late 19th century, and the connections between modern Arab history and Arabic literature.  My current research project explores the lives of Iraqi Jews in Israel. My graduate students work on a range of issues: cultural history of Ottoman Iraq, the British mandates in Trans Jordan and Iraq, leisure in the Arab world, Mizrahi women, Syrian diplomacy, the Ottoman press, and Arab political thought. At the University of Chicago, I teach classes on nationalism, colonialism and postcolonialism in the Middle East, on modern Islamic civilization, and on Israeli history. 

News: During the winter quarter of 2016 I will be teaching a class with Professor Angie Heo which was chosen to the Big Problem Curriculum in the college. More info on the program: http://franke.uchicago.edu/bigproblems/bp-index.html


My Recent Public Talks:

UC Berkley: “From the Dung Hill to the Ariel Sharon Park: The Lives of Iraqi Jews in Israeli Transit Camps

Northwestern University: "Al-Ittihad and the 1950's: Sami Michael's Early Arabi Fiction -- Between Baghdad and Haifa"

Chicago Humanities Day:  "The Arabic Novel in the Late 19th Century

Franke Forum: "Jewish Refugees in a Jewish State, 1950-58

National WWI Museum: "New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern Iraq"


My Recent Publications 


New Babylonians: A History of Jews in Modern IraqStanford University Press, 2012

The Other Iraq – Pluralism and Culture in Hashemite Iraq, Stanford University Press, 2009 [Paperback, November 2010]  

Coedited with Margrit Pernau, Helge Jordheim, Christian Bailey, Oleg Benesch, Jan Ifversen, Mana Kia, Rochona Majumdar, Angelika C. Messner, Myoung-kyu Park, Emmanuelle Saada, Mohinder Singh, and Einar Wigen, Civilizing Emotions: Concepts in Nineteenth Century Asia and Europe, Oxford University Press, 2015


When the Safras Met the Dājanīs: Arabic in Hebrew and the Rethinking of National Ideology,” Journal of Arabic Literature 47 (2016): 138 –168

Deconstructing Destruction: The New Historiography of Twentieth-Century Iraq and the Second Gulf War,” Arab Studies Journal 23:1 (2015), 210-136

The Middle Eastern Shift and Provincializing Zionism”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 46:3 (August 2014), 577-580 (editor of a round table on this issue) 

"A Portrait of an Iraqi Novelist as a Young Man," Kufa Review 2:2 (Spring 2013), 9-35

The Barbarism from Within – Discourses about Fascism amongst Iraqi and Iraqi-Jewish Communists, 1942–1955,”Die Welt des Islams(52:3-4) 2012, 400-429

Hybrid Nationalims: Watani and Qawmi visions in Iraq under ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim, 1958-1961,” International Journal of Middle East Studies [IJMES] (2011), 43: 293-312

Book Chapters

A Patriotic Uprising: Baghdadi Jews and the Wathba,” in Nelida Fucarro (ed.),Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East, Stanford University Press, 2016

Jews in an imperial pocket: Northern Iraqi Jews and the British Mandate,” Cyrus Schayegh (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the History of the Middle East Mandates, Routledge, 2015

"On Schools, Jails, and Cemeteries: Shoshanna Levy’s Gendered Autobiography," Firozeh Kasheni Sabet and Beth Wagner (eds.), Gender in Judaism and Islam, NYU Press, 2014

My Sister Esther: Reflections on Judaism, Ottomanism, and the Empire of Egypt in the Works of Farah Antun,” Marilyn Booth and Anthony Gorman (eds.), Egypt in the Long 1890s, Edinburgh University Press, 2014


My Vita


Recent online interviews and online publication

Muftah: "The history of Jews in Modern Iraq, an Interview with Orit Bashkin"

Jadaliyya: "The forgotten Refugees