Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Syracuse University
Website URL,_Amy_Aisen/
Modern Middle East and North Africa, women and gender, history of emotions, Early Modern Middle East, Ottoman Empire, colonialism
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am an associate professor of Middle East history at Syracuse University and an affiliated faculty with the Women’s and Gender Studies Department. I teach classes on the early modern and modern Middle East and North Africa including popular culture, women and gender, and the revolts of 2010-2011 as well as on European colonialism. I studied history at the University of Michigan and UC Santa Cruz with a brief foray at l’Universite d’Aix-Marseille and with the DIRASET group in Tunis, and hold a PhD in History from UC Berkeley.

My recent book Tunisia’s Modern Woman: Nation-Building and State Feminism in the Global 1960s (Cambridge University Press, 2021) explores the importance of modern womanhood and women to postcolonial state and society. Considering Cold War alliances and transnational feminist movements, family planning, feminist academics, fashion, and love, the book traces state feminism into domestic and international politics, economic development, intellectual conversations, cultural expressions, and social shifts during an era of radical political change and women’s rights activism across the Middle East.

My first book, Women, Gender, and the Palace Households in Ottoman Tunisia (University of Texas Press, 2013) is a social history of women and the family that governed Tunisia in the 18th and 19th centuries. It combines family history, material culture, and social networks to illustrate the significance of the palace and women’s political and economic roles in an effort to ground scholarship on Tunisia within Ottoman political, social, and cultural contexts.

I had the pleasure of acting as reviews editor for the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies and continue to be involved with the Association of Middle East Women’s Studies and the Middle East Studies Association where I enjoy serving on book and dissertation award committees and in mentoring programs. I’ve explored other facets of modern Tunisia in articles and book chapters in International Journal of Middle East StudiesMiddle East Report OnlineArab Media & Society, and Nouri Gana ed. The Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects (Edinburgh University Press 2013).

Recent Publications


Tunisia’s Modern Woman: Nation-Building and State Feminism in the Global 1960s (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

Women, gender, and the palace households in Ottoman Tunisia (University of Texas Press, 2013).

Articles and Book Chapters

“Transnational Intimacies and the Construction of the New Nation: Tunisia and France in the 1960s,” French Politics, Culture, and Society 39:1 (Spring 2021): 109-132

“Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the Middle East, 1400-1750)” in Merry Wiesner-Hanks and Teresa Meade eds., Companion to Global Gender History 2ND Edition, Wiley Blackwell (2021).

“Miniskirts and “Beatniks”: Gender Roles, National Development, and Morals in 1960s Tunisia.” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 50:2 (2018), 291-313

“‘Friends of Tunisia’: French economic and diplomatic support of Tunisian authoritarianism,” in Nouri Gana ed. The Tunisian Revolution: Contexts, Architects, Prospects. Edinburgh University Press (2013).

From TUNeZINE to Nhar 3la 3mmar: A Reconsideration of the Role of Bloggers in Tunisia’s Revolution”  Arab, Media, and Society 17 (Winter 2013).

“Tunisia’s Post-Ben Ali Challenge: A Primer” in David McMurray and Amanda Ufheil-Somers eds. The Arab Revolts: Dispatches on Militant Democracy in the Middle East (Indiana University Press, 2013). Updated and revised from the Middle East Report Online 26 January 2011.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Middle East
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Family, Gender, Material Culture, Women