Elizabeth F. Thompson
Professor and Mohamed S. Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace, SIS
School of International Service
Additional Positions at AU
Mohamed S. Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace
Professor of History
Co-Chair, Historical International Studies Research Cluster
PhD, Columbia University in History; MIA, Columbia University, in International Affairs; BA, Harvard University in History & Literature
Arabic, French, some Turkish, Spanish, Italian
Favorite Spot on Campus
Book Currently Reading
Caroline Elkins, Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire
Elizabeth F. Thompson is a historian of social movements and liberal constitutionalism in the Middle East, with a focus on how race and gender relations have been conditioned by foreign intervention and international law. She recently published her third book: How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs: The Syrian Arab Congress and the Destruction of its Historic Liberal-Islamic Alliance (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2020). It explores how and why Arabs gathered in Damascus after World War I to establish a democratic regime, in contrast to the prevalence of authoritarian-nationalist regimes established elsewhere in the lands of the defeated Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. The book also considers the long-term, negative consequences of the destruction of the Arab democracy, authorized by the Paris Peace Conference and enforced by the new League of Nations.
Thompson is author of two previous books: Justice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East (Harvard, 2013) and Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon (Columbia, 2000), which won two national prizes. She is currently working on two new books. The Deluge: A Memoir of Muslim-Christian Europe and Its Destruction is based on the humorous memoir of a Hungarian-Ottoman who fought alongside Turks in World War I, only to find himself stateless afterward. A second project, titled Gone With the Wind in Cairo, explores the transnational politics of cinema and the renegotiation of racial and gender identities in 1940s-50s Middle East and the United States.