Dr Andrew Arsan

Senior Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern History at Faculty of History, University of Cambridge

Senior Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern History, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge

A historian of the Arabic-speaking Eastern Mediterranean, Andrew is particularly interested in the cultural, social, political and intellectual histories of the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Levant; in diaspora and the trans-regional circulation of people; in French and British imperialism in the Mediterranean and beyond; and in histories of political thought and intellectual life in the world beyond Europe. His second book, Lebanon: A Country in Fragments, was published by Hurst & Company in the summer of 2018. This is an account not just of Lebanon’s high politics, with its endless rows, walk-outs, machinations and foreign alliances, but also of the politics of everyday life: all the stresses and strains the country’s inhabitants face, from electricity black-outs and uncollected rubbish to stagnating wages and property bubbles. Where others treat Lebanon’s woes as exceptional, a by-product of its sectarianism and particular vulnerability to regional crises, he insists there is nothing particular about Lebanon’s predicament. Rather, it is emblematic of these times of neoliberal economics and populist fervour, forced displacement, rising xenophobia, and public disillusion. Lebanon, in short, offers us a lens through which to look on our times. Andrew is now at work on a synoptic history of the lands we now call Lebanon from the early sixteenth century to the early twenty-first century, under contract with Cambridge University Press. He has previously taught at Princeton University and Birkbeck, University of London and is currently on academic leave until October 2020, thanks to the award of a Philip Leverhulme Prize.