Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Murray State University
Website URL
Middle East, Protestantism, missions, Women, 19th century, cemeteries, family history, religion, Ottoman Empire,
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of gender and the entangled history of Middle Eastern, American and European encounters. My primary research focuses on the history of the Protestant Church in the Levant, specifically Lebanon. I am continuing my research on American Protestant missionaries in Ottoman Syria during the early to mid-nineteenth century and the development of a Protestant community in Lebanon. My research focuses on the ways that women, both American and Syrian, performed, negotiated and subverted their gendered identities and the impact of the family on the development of the Protestant community.  I have also written about other aspects of the encounters between the United States and the Middle East, including a number of pieces on the American Mission Press in Beirut and the confluence of Eid al-Barbara and Halloween.

I am a consultant and researcher for a number of projects. This includes the Anglo-American Cemetery Association and on a project outlining the history of female education in Lebanon (a history of the Lebanese American University). I am particularly interested in working with institutions in the Middle East to develop plans for the storage, organization and management of their archives. I am also available to assist individuals conducting family history—particularly Arab-Americans whose ancestors were members of the Protestant Churches and Americans and Brits whose relatives lived and worked in the Middle East.

From 2012 to 2014, I was the director of the Preserving Protestant Heritage in the Middle East (PPHME) project at the Near East School of Theology. My responsibilities included re-organizing the NEST’s Special Collections, assisting visiting researchers in their use of the material, organizing public seminars, managing the project’s website, applying for international grants and soliciting local support for the project, and to promote awareness of and interest in the history of Protestantism and its institutions both in Lebanon and globally. I produced a number of studies based upon this items found in the Special Collections, including an analysis of a teaching certificate for a woman named Labiba Kurani.

My experiences also include a three year tenure as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Balamand in north Lebanon.  I coordinated (with the amazing Souad Slim) an Oral history project, for which students interview their relatives and neighbors, as a medium through which the students could learn about and connect to their own culture and past. One of my student wrote about the Zambo Festival, which is a celebration to mark the Lenten season that is unique to Mina.

I am happy to answer questions pertaining to my research and to pursue opportunities for collaboration.

Recent Publications

“From Foreign soil to the ʾArd of Beirut: A history of the American University of Beirut and the Anglo-American Cemetery”, Nadia El Cheikh, Leila Choueiri and Bilal Orafli, eds., One Hundred and Fifty (Beirut: American University of Beirut Press, 2016), 189-200.

Entangled Education: Foreign, National and Local schools in Ottoman Syria and Mandate Lebanon (19th-20th Centuries), Beiruter Texte und Studien 137: Herausgegeben vom Orient-Institute Beirut (Beirut: Ergon Verlag Würzburg in Kommission, 2016). Co-edited with Julia Hauser and Esther Möller.

“‘Burj Bird’ and the Beirut Mission Compound: Researching Women in the Protestant Church of Ottoman Syria,” Presbyterian Historical Society Blog (31 May 2016).

“Episode 230: Women and the American Protestant Mission in Lebanon,” with Ellen Fleischmann, hosted by Susanna Ferguson, Ottoman History Podcast (12 March 2016)


Media Coverage
Country Focus
Lebanon, Syria, Ottoman Syria
Expertise by Geography
Mediterranean, Middle East
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Modern
Expertise by Topic
Children & Youth, Colonialism, Family, Gender, Libraries & Archives, Migration & Immigration, Religion, Women